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All Clear Given For Entire Bahamas

NASSAU, Bahamas, Oct. 7, 2016 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- The National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) has given the all clear for the entire Commonwealth of The Bahamas after Hurricane Matthew left Bahamian waters early Friday morning.

Assessments of hotel properties, beaches and other touristic sites throughout the Islands Of The Bahamas begin today, but initial reports indicate that there were no major damages throughout the country. Most islands fared well during the storm with Grand Bahama, New Providence and Andros receiving the brunt of the storm. It is unclear at this time to what extent Grand Bahama was affected by Hurricane Matthew.

Officials from the Nassau Airport Development Company said they are conducting cleanup and assessment exercises at the Lynden Pindling International Airport with a view to restoring operations as early as Saturday.

The Port of Nassau will open on Saturday at 6 a.m. and officials are currently conducting assessments and cleanup exercises.

"I am so pleased that there are reports of only minor damages in our Family Islands and on New Providence. We are still awaiting official reports from Grand Bahama but are ready to respond to that island's needs. We are cognizant that we are a blessed nation because we took quite a lashing from such a powerful category four hurricane and received no loss of life or widespread destruction," said Joy Jibrilu, Director General of Tourism for The Islands Of The Bahamas. "We would like to extend our heartfelt thoughts and prayers for all the residents of The Bahamas who have been affected by the storm.

"Our thoughts and prayers are with the citizens of Haiti where at last report there were over 400 people believed to be dead. We will stand shoulder to shoulder with our Caribbean family in recovery exercises.

"We are also keeping the U.S. State of Florida in our hearts as Hurricane Matthew moves through."

The Bahamas Ministry of Tourism's (BMOT) crisis management team continues to liaise with NEMA, The Bahamas Hotel and Tourism Association (BHTA), Nassau Airport Development Company, the Port Authority and other relevant authorities. It is also keeping track of all visitor counts by island and receiving frequent updates.

BMOT has urged industry partners to allow NEMA, the appropriate government agency, to conduct the initial damage and needs assessment in all the affected areas so that offers of assistance are appropriate. BMOT stressed that it is not recommended for private entities to travel to the affected areas at this time.

The Crisis Management Team has been in constant contact with its representatives throughout the Family Islands during the storm who have given initial reports on the status of hotel properties and other tourism infrastructure. More detailed and comprehensive reports will be given following this weekend's assessments.

Long Island
On Long Island, there are reports of minor damage on the island with some downed power lines and trees. However, phone, electricity and water are on. There were no reports of major property damage to any of the resorts on the island including Cape Santa Maria, Stella Marris or any of the smaller resorts.

San Salvador
There were also reports of minor damage on San Salvador. There were no reports of debris or downed power lines, or trees on the roads, and the hurricane shelters have already been cleared. The airport on San Salvador is secure and all government buildings are reported to be in good condition. Electricity has been intermittent during the day. Additionally, Club Med reported no building damage.

Andros
• Tiamo Resort in South Andros also reported no building damage. They plan to be open on their target date of November 1.
• The Lighthouse Yacht Club is severely damaged and the roof is 80 percent damaged.
• The main government dock in Central Andros is still in good shape and a full update is expected tomorrow.

Eleuthera
• On Eleuthera, there was minimal damage.
• Villa Allamanda looks fine from an outside inspection.
• French Leave is closed for renovations, but no major damage was reported.

Exuma
• On Great Exuma, there were reports of minimal damage throughout the island. The roads are passable with some flooding in Rolletown. Many of the resorts of the island reported very minor damage.
• February Point has no property damage.
• Exuma Beach Resort has some shingle damage.
• Club Peace and Plenty has some damage to its windows and dock.
• Grand Isle Resort reported no property damage.
• Augusta Bay has no damage.
• Hideaways at Palm Bay has some minor shingle and fence damage.
• The airport received no major damage either.

Abaco
On Abaco 502 people reported to the shelters, three of whom are U.S. visitors in Man-O-War Cay. It is reported that they were out on a boat. Forty Chinese workers are in the Cooper's Town shelter. The Ministry of Tourism's office on Abaco will continue to monitor the group but at last report they were comfortable. For now, it appears that resorts in Marsh Harbour suffered no major damage.

New Providence
• On New Providence, Stuart's Cove reported that all staff are safe and their boats made it through. The dive shop and dock at South Ocean all received some damage but nothing that will prevent the company from reopening on Saturday for business as usual.
• RIU Palace on Paradise Island appears to have suffered damage to its property.
• There were reports of mainly landscape damage to many of the hotels on New Providence including Graycliff, Melia Nassau Beach Resort and Warwick Paradise Island hotel.

There are over 3,000 visitors on New Providence, 74 on Grand Bahama and 228 throughout the Family Islands. All visitors in the country are accounted for.

Anyone wishing to donate or assist in recovery exercises are asked to contact NEMA Bahamas at 242-322-6731 or the Bahamas Red Cross at bahamasredcross.com or 242-323-7370.

CONTACT: Mia Weech-Lange Tel: 954-888-1069 Email: mlange@bahamas.com

Source:Bahamas Ministry of Tourism