Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Hurricane Memoirs: Michelle (2001)

Some of our neighbors hurriedly went about the task of boarding up their homes. Our own house was littered with large containers of water, canned meat, dried food, spare batteries, and flashlights as we underwent the task of relocating our books, computer equipment, and sermon illustration file to the inner recesses of our home. To the uninitiated, we might have looked like Branch Davidians awaiting an imminent invasion from the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms, or perhaps a couple of Y2K fanatics preparing for a technological apocalypse. Actually, it was neither-just our routine seasonal preparations for yet another hurricane threat.

Hurricane Michelle began its assault on the northern and central Bahamas islands early Monday morning, affecting Andros, New Providence, Bimini, the Berry Islands, Grand Bahama, Abaco, and Eleuthra. Here on the island of New Providence, we experienced about an hour and a half of heavy rains and 80+ mph winds. The storm itself was preceeded by heavy rains that had begun on Saturday evening.

In the aftermath of the storm, the main damage sustained here in New Providence seems to be limited to lots of fallen trees (no surprise as the soil is shallow and rocky), fallen utility lines, roof damage (primarily in the form of missing shingles), and heavy flooding in some of the low lying areas (the islands are basically flat, so drainage is a problem). Based on reports that we have received, the situation seems to be similar on the other islands, with the exception of Andros, which seems to have taken the brunt of the flooding. There were no casualities as a result of the storm.

Much of the islands were left without utility services. In our neighborhood, water service was restored by Tuesday morning, electricity by Tuesday evening, and, finally, internet access this morning. Local authorities estimate that at least 90% of utilities will be completelyrestored by the end of this week.

We have been in contact with Pastor Exante of the New Haitian Mission Baptist Church as well as a number of church members. At this point, it appears that the members of our partner churches have not been adversely affected. This is consistent with news reports that we have received from around the island, which seem to indicate that that as water begins to drain and cleanup is underway, most local residents have been able to return to their homes. In addition, most businesses reopened yesterday and the public schools resumed classes this morning.

This article originally appeared in News from Daniel and Estela Schweissing on 8 November 2001.

Labels: ,


Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

<< Home