NEMA EVENING BRIEFING – SEPTEMBER 8, 2019
1. There is no mandatory evacuation order for Abaco.
2. Evacuation is strictly voluntary.
3. The total number of evacuees to Nassau is approximately 3,500 so far.
4. There were a number of partners running evacuations today, including Bahamas Air, Delta Airlines, Western Air, Trans Island Air, Air Bridge and other private partners. The Bahamas Fast Ferries and private boaters also did sea evacuations.
5. The number of persons presenting themselves for evacuations is diminishing.
6. Evacuees are being processed at The Odyssey Aviation Processing Centre. We thank our private sector partners who are working with Social Services to manage this center.
7. As a reminder, all evacuations should be free of charge. The public should report any aircraft that are charging fees. Civil aviation is revoking authorizations for those aircraft.
8. The evacuation plan is to provide temporary housing in Abaco to assist those persons who wish to stay on the island.
9. Several safe spaces have been identified to clear areas for temporary housing.
NOTICE ON SEARCH AND RECOVERY IN ABACO
1. NEMA and its partners have not commenced any mass scale debris cleaning in Abaco.
2. Search and recovery is still being conducted, particularly in Marsh Harbour.
3. We are aware of rumors about bulldozing in The Mud. These reports are false.
4. NEMA has directed a 50 member team from The United States Agency for International Development /Office of U.S. Foreign Disaster Assistance (USAID/OFDA) to work with the Bahamas Royal Bahamas Defence Force to do a systematic sweep of the island.
5. The island has been put into a grid system and the recovery team will check each section for persons who are still alive, any bodies that need to be recovered, and to check for hazardous material.
6. Only after each sector is cleared will NEMA and its partners move to the next phase of operations, which includes debris removal.
SAFETY AND SECURITY
- We are confident there is adequate coverage on both islands to address safety and security issues.
- On Grand Bahama, there were 666 Royal Bahamas Police Force and Royal Bahamas Defence Force officers. These figures include police reserves.
- In Abaco, there are 274 Royal Bahamas Police Force and Royal Bahamas Defence Force officers.
- The Caribbean Community responding to our request for support.
- Presenting on Abaco, there are 33 Jamaican Defence Force Officers assisting securing operations. There are 122 officers from Trinidad and Tobago who will be phased into Grand Bahama during the week.
- When evacuees arrive in Nassau they are processed at the Processing Centre at Odyssey Aviation.
- Evacuees are then taken to homes of family and friends, or a shelter.
- The status of current shelters:
o Sir Kendal Isaac Gym - 422 people (full)
o Fox Hill Community Shelter - 202 people
o Calvary Baptist Shelter - 91 people
o Salvation Army – 50
o Pilgrim Baptist Church in St Hames Road - 95 people
o And another centre opened this morning in Adelaide.
- TOTAL PEOPLE PLACED @ 10am THIS MORNING = 860
FOOD AND WATER SUPPLIES
NEMA continues to work with local and international public and private sector entities to ensure that food and water are provided to the affected communities on Abaco and Grand Bahama.
As at 5pm today September 8, 2019, arrangements have been put in place for:
• Royal Caribbean to provide between 10-20 thousand hot meals per day to persons in Grand Bahama. NEMA is augmenting these hot meals with non-perishable relief supplies.
• The Island Administrator to get food and water for approximately 500 to persons who are on Moore’s Island
• Hands for Hunger and World Central Kitchen to distribute 2,000 hot meals to persons in Little Abaco starting September 9, 2019
• Royal Bahamas Defence Force is delivering food, water and tarps to Copper’s Town and North Abaco
• World Food Programme and Samaritan’s Purse distributing 12,000 MREs to 1,000 families in Marsh Harbour
Sep-04 Press Release
Ministry of Finance Releases Details on How Individuals and Organizations Can Utilize the Exigency Order
Authored by: Llonella Gilbert
Source: Bahamas Information Services
Date: September 4, 2019
NASSAU, The Bahamas -- Acting Deputy Financial Secretary, Athena Marche shared details about the financial resources being mobilized by the government to respond to the national crisis left in the aftermath of Hurricane Dorian, and provided details on how individuals and organizations can utilize the Exigency Order signed by the government to provide tax relief on the import of hurricane relief supplies.
During a press conference held at the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) on Wednesday, September 4, 2019, the Acting Deputy Financial Secretary explained that the Ministry of Finance is activating the necessary protocols to access emergency funds available under the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) Contingent Line of Credit secured by the government late last year.
“This credit facility gives the government access to emergency financing to provide basic necessities to persons in the affected areas and to procure dedicated goods and services for the execution of restorative work. The government will draw down on these funds based on an assessment of need at each phase of the recovery.
She added, “Our technical teams, including local and international partners, are commencing a parametric and economic impact assessment to support this work.
Ms. Marche stated as The Bahamas is covered by a Caribbean Catastrophe Risk Insurance Facility (CCRIF SPC), the Ministry of Finance is activating the necessary assessment protocols to trigger any payments the country is qualified for.
“Overall, the Ministry of Finance is implementing the Government’s fiscal plan for catastrophic natural disasters to ensure the vital hurricane relief operations being conducted by NEMA are adequately funded.”
The Acting Deputy Financial Secretary also explained the details of the Declaration of Exigency signed by the Government to provide tax relief on the import of hurricane relief supplies.
She noted that the Exigency Order puts a framework in place for the Ministry of Finance and its revenue collection agencies to operate within an emergency. Hurricane Dorian is not only a catastrophic natural disaster for The Bahamas it is an unprecedented global event.
The Exigency Order means that individuals who are directly impacted by the Hurricane in the affected areas can import approved goods duty free and VAT free. It also means that private individuals and organizations who are making charitable donations can import approved goods into the country duty free and VAT free.
The public should be aware the following:
The tax breaks under the Exigency Order only apply to the following approved islands: Abaco and the Abaco Cays, Grand Bahama Island, Sweetings Cay, Deep Water Cay and Water Cay.
For the next 30 days, bottled water, clothing, food for personal consumption and personal hygiene products will be duty free and VAT free for individuals and businesses importing these items as donations to registered charities.
For the next 90 days, medicine and medical supplies, building materials, tents, cots, bedding materials, mosquito nettings, electrical and plumbing fixtures and materials, household furniture, furnishings and appliances, and electrical generators will be duty free and VAT free for individuals and businesses importing these items as donations to registered charities.
A number of fees will be waived for three-months for non-commercial flights bringing in relief goods in the affect islands, including departure tax, customs processing fees and environmental levy fees.
There may be a need for items that are not on the approved list. Application may be made to the Ministry of Finance for review to import the same.
She stressed that there is a list of “approved charities/non-profits” on the Department of Inland Revenue’s website, which has been circulated via social media. This is only a list of Bahamian non-profits that are VAT registered. It is not a comprehensive list of registered charities.
Ms. Marche added that there is a comprehensive register of charities maintained by the Registrar General. NEMA also has a list of charities that are engaged in disaster relief activities. If there are established charities that are not on a registered list for some reason, NEMA hosts a daily NGO briefing.
“The Exigency Order is not exclusive to charities. All Individuals and businesses can apply to import tax-free goods under the Exigency Order. However, all goods imported under the Exigency Order must be used for charitable purposes by registered charities.”
Mrs. Marche said individuals and businesses are eligible to import tax-free goods under the Exigency Order under the following three conditions:
- Imported goods fall under the approved list of items
- The final destination of the imported goods is an approved island
- Imported goods will be used for charitable purposes to support restoration activities directly related to Hurricane Dorian or by individuals who have directly suffered hardship or loss as a result of Hurricane Dorian
IMPORT PROCESS FOR HURRICANE RELIEF SUPPLIES
IMPORT PROCESS FOR HURRICANE RELIEF SUPPLIES
under the Hurricane Dorian Exigency Order of September 2, 2019
WHO IS ELIGIBLE
Individuals and businesses are eligible to import tax free goods under the Exigency Order under the
following three conditions:
1. Imported goods fall under the approved list of items
2. The final destination of the imported goods is an approved island
3. Imported goods will be used for charitable purposes to support restoration activities directly
related to Hurricane Dorian or by individuals who have directly suffered hardship or loss as a
result of Hurricane Dorian
WHAT IS THE PROCESS
Eligible individuals or businesses must:
STEP 1 – Complete Exigency Order Form for “Approved Goods”
Download forms at Customs, NEMA, DIR or Ministry of Finance website or request a copy in-
person at Customs
The person or entity in The Bahamas receiving the imported relief supplies should complete this
STEP 2 – Complete Relevant Customs Declaration Form
C-18 for Unaccompanied Goods (e.g. Goods arriving on a private aircraft or charter plane)
C-17 Accompanied Goods (e.g. When travelling through baggage claim at the airport or on
private vessel/pleasure craft)
C-13 Air Cargo or Sea Cargo (e.g. Goods arriving through a shipping company, freight forwarder,
courier: DHL, Zipx, Betty K, etc.)
STEP 3 – Present Documents to Customs at Port of Entry
Customs will be responsible for reviewing and approving documents at the Port of Entry.