For Immediate Release
The Hon. Darren Henfield, Minster of Foreign Affairs Addresses UN High Level Meeting on the Impact of Hurricane Irma
18 September 2017
The Honourable Darren Henfield, Minister of Foreign Affairs addressed a high level meeting convened by the UN Secretary General and the President of the General Assembly on the impact of Hurricane Irma on the Caribbean region.
In his remarks the Minister, on behalf of The Bahamas, joined in the expressions of condolences for the loss of life and the damage resulting from Hurricane Irma and took the opportunity to thank the UN and the international community for hosting the meeting.
The Minister advised that The Bahamas is still attempting actively to recover and rebuild following the passages of Hurricanes Jaoquin in 2015 and Matthew in 2016. Meanwhile, The Bahamas in the process of recovering from three devastating storms is now preparing for another. We are in the projected path of Hurricane Maria.
On 6 September 2017 prior to the arrival of the Hurricane Irma, based on its projections, The Bahamas government moved swiftly to carry out an emergency evacuation exercise from six of our southern islands, namely Mayaguana, Inagua, Crooked Island, Acklins, Long Cay and Ragged Island or MICAL.
Based on its projected path toward the western coast of Florida, the Government of The Bahamas also decided to evacuate residents from the islands of Bimini and within Grand Bahama, in the northern Bahamas.
As a result of the tornadic activity, Hurricane Irma visited significant damage on the northern islands of Grand Bahama and Bimini.
For small island states like The Bahamas, which are largely tourism-dependent economies, such slow moving systems have serious financial implications.
He said, Climate change, however, casts a long shadow over our development efforts.
The implications of rising sea levels and atmospheric temperatures signal dire consequences for low-lying island states like The Bahamas. We believe it demands a truly global response.
The Minister closed by expressing appreciation to our international partners who have offered much needed assistance as we rebuild and strengthen our resolve to address natural disasters such as Hurricane Irma.