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Bahamas: $1.8m Support From Japan For Nema

THE National Emergency Management Agency has received $1.8m worth of assistance from the government of Japan to help improve the organisation’s logistics capability in the event of a major hurricane.

During a media tour held yesterday, NEMA director Captain Stephen Russell showed the new vehicles and freezer containers which will help the Royal Bahamas Defence Force in moving personnel and equipment around the country before and in the aftermath of hurricanes.

Chief meteorologist Basil Dean added the likelihood of a major hurricane affecting the Bahamas is “pretty high,” although the country is not as yet in the direct path of any named storm systems.

However, Mr Dean said the sea swells caused by Hurricane Florence could be as high as 18-20 feet. These will especially affect Abaco, Eleuthera, and Cat Island.

Mr Dean warned beach-goers to “stay out of the water”, with the high swells expecting to start today and last straight through Friday before they begin to subside.

As a result, Mr Dean said the Glass Window Bridge in Eleuthera will “certainly be impacted”, and asked residents and motorists to cease using the bridge “until conditions subside”.

When asked about preparations NEMA is taking during this “peak period” of the hurricane season, Captain Russell referred to the Japanese aid, which is a result of an agreement — the Japan Grant Aid — signed in 2015 in the wake of Hurricane Joaquin. The equipment will help reduce the time needed to deliver assistance.

“We saw that there was a need for heavy lifting equipment, and that’s why we made the request,” he said, noting all the vehicles were produced in Japan. He added they were inspected, licensed, and insured this week and 15 marines and Ministry of Works personnel have been trained in operating the crane in particular.

“Over the past month, we had an agreement with the Japanese government where we’re trying to improve our logistics capability and we received two brand new trucks, a tractor head, there’s some freezer containers and a crane.

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