- Saba's only commercial harbor now has to be declared a total disaster by the local authorities, leader of the Saba Democratic Party Mr. Dave Levenstone said on Thursday morning after visiting the harbor area.
This is the results of the passing of hurricane Omar in the evening hours on Wednesday into Thursday.
Levenstone said that he is not at all pleased with the manner in which the whole preparations leading up to the hurricane was carried out.
There was no official meeting of the Saba Disaster Preparedness Committee held and members were wondering what to do in the event as they were not officially informed.
Everyone was just going about doing their own thing and that is not the way things should have gone.
There was no official public announcement informing the community what precautions they should follow. It is regrettable that things was handled this way as it is not customary for the preparations to be handled in this ad-hoc manner.
Thank God that we were able to pass through this hurricane without any major calamities within the community. The people of Saba followed the weather channel and also listened to the radio reports and kept themselves fully informed of the passing of hurricane Omar until the end.
The only area that suffered major losses is the harbor, and several business places at the harbor has suffered severely from the passing of the hurricane.
Reports has it that waves were coming into the harbor of over 40 feet at a given moment.
Two dive shops namely Saba Divers and Sea Saba suffered major losses and their complete shop with their equipment has been washed out.
Two fishermen sheds int eh harbor was also completely washed out with some of them losing some of their equipment.
One fishermen used his head and brought some of his freezers etc. to higher grounds on Wednesday in the event of any major swells in the harbor.
The top of the sundeck was completely moved and thrown several meters away from the deck.
On Thursday morning there were still some big swells rolling into the harbor. The newly reopened Pop's Place also suffered some minor damages but it is expected that they will be soon back into operations after some cleaning etc.
Commissioner of Harbor Affairs Mr. Bruce Zagers on Thursday morning early was at the harbor and was on hand to witness the damage and also feels that the harbor must be declared a disaster and said that he believes that the Dutch Government has to be made aware of the situation as soon as possible.
The repairs that will have to be carried out according to Commissioner Zagers should not come from the SEI approved monies that has been earmarked for the harbor upgrading we will need extra money to carry out these repairs.
It is a little to soon to do any estimations until the seas calm down, but we will need to have divers dive in the harbor to see what needs to be done and from what I can see we will have to do some dredging in the harbor before any boats can come in.
We have to act fast on this matter Commissioner Zagers was quoted as saying on Thursday morning as he toured the entire harbor facilities.
N.V. G.E.B.E. closed down their operations in the harbor on Wednesday evening at around 10.00 p.m. while many were busy watching the debate on television when the heavy seas and lightning started and they were able to be back on Thursday afternoon at around 1.30 p.m. No major losses has been announce on the other areas on the island.
Some trees did come down but nothing to big that could not have been handled by the Sanitation Department who had their crews out early on Thursday morning,. Government buildings and school remained closed on Thursday and is expected to reopen on Friday morning. There has not been any official word yet coming from the local authorities.
Many boat owners decided to either take their boats out of the water and some decided to take their boats to safe grounds on St. Maarten.
Despite several warnings of heavy rain on Saba not that much rain fell during the passing of the hurricane we did get some good rain but it rained much earlier in the afternoon and evening hours.
Many Sabans on Thursday said that they have to thank God that it went this way, it could have been worse.
Members of the Police Force was busy on Thursday keeping the road to the harbor closed off to avoid to much traffic in the area. Only persons that really needed to be at the harbor was being allowed to go down there.
Photo's by Dave Levenstone for SNA