On October 6th, Hurricane Matthew moved through The Bahamas affecting almost every island in the archipelago. There is widespread damage across the islands with Andros, Grand Bahama and New Providence being the hardest hit and homes and landscapes visibly affected. Homes and families are without electricity and water and these necessary utilities are being slowly restored. The BNT is thankful that our staff were all safe during the storm and that most escaped with only minor or moderate damage.
The Retreat Garden lost many palms and large trees. Palms that can be saved will be pulled up and propped. Those that cannot be saved will be replaced. We were all very distressed at seeing the beautiful Retreat so severely beaten up. Our terrific BNT staff reported to The Retreat on Tuesday, October 11th ready to clean up this beautiful park and get it ready for the upcoming Wine and Art Festival. Our terrific corporate partner, Bahamas Waste, was ready with large bins for the debris which has helped immensely with the clean-up efforts. The buildings, with the exception of minor roof damage to the dining room, were unscathed.
In Eleuthera, The Levy Preserve was spared the brunt of Matthew and is intact. Henry Nixon reports all is well in Inagua with park infrastructure and that the flamingos were back and feeding on the lake. The boardwalk and observation pavilion at Bonefish Pond suffered some damage but we should be able to salvage it and get it back in operation. At least one piling under the pavilion will need to be replaced but we should be able to repair it fully.
Primeval Forest has no damage to the buildings, but some of the safety railings are damaged. Thankfully, our majestic, signature mahogany tree has survived. Andros reports no damage to the pavilions at the Blue Holes National Park.
Park Warden Henry Haley was just able to reach the Exuma Cays Land and Sea Park on Saturday, October 8th, and he reports no major structural damage.
Grand Bahama was one of the hardest hit islands. Our parks on Grand Bahama all suffered vegetative damage and the mangrove boardwalk at the Lucayan National Park will need repair.
The BNT feels fortunate to have suffered relatively little structural damage, especially considering that so many buildings were severely damaged or destroyed in New Providence, Grand Bahama and Andros.
Clean-up, repairs and park assessments will continue over the next several months. New Providence and Grand Bahama parks are closed until repairs and clean-up are completed.
The BNT empathizes with our Caribbean neighbours who also experienced great damage, and we feel deeply for Haiti whose death toll continues to rise as a result of the hurricane. The Bahamas is a strong nation and we will rebuild. We ask our BNT members who can, to support hurricane relief efforts. There are many on Andros, New Providence, and Grand Bahama who have lost their homes and are suffering. greatly as a result of Hurricane Matthew.