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Bahamians with documents and a place to stay are welcome in Florida, Gov. DeSantis says

Marcia Heroux Pounds, Sun Sentinel on

Published in Weather News

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. -- Gov. Ron DeSantis says he welcomes Bahamians to Florida who have passports, visas and a place to stay, but there are no shelters open in the state for those displaced by Hurricane Dorian.

For those who are flying from the Bahamas to Florida and have family or friends to stay with, "that's no harm for us," he said.

But "if you're somebody who needs assistance and you don't have a place to stay (in Florida) ... the Bahamian government would probably prefer folks use some of the resources that are there," he said.

The Trump administration's policy is not to facilitate any special migration to the U.S., DeSantis said.

Florida has helped raise about $3 million in donations from business and individuals for those in the Bahamas, and a total of $11 million in resources is going to the islands from the state, he said.

One example: Florida Power & Light Co. is partnering with the state to send 500,000 bottles, a total of 19 trucks full, of bottled water.

 

FPL has no plans to send utility workers, as it did in Puerto Rico after Hurricane Maria. After Hurricane Maria knocked out power to Puerto Rico in 2017, FPL sent electrical equipment and a 120 line workers for three months in 2018, to help restore the island's electrical system.

Eric Silagy, CEO of Juno Beach-based FPL, said Bahamas doesn't need utility workers at this point. But FPL is coordinating with Pike Corp., which is sending two teams to help restore power to the Bahamas. He said FPL will supply power poles and lines at cost to Pike, and that FPL customers will not be charged.

"This is going to be a rebuilding effort that takes time. Our focus now is on the essentials, what Bahamians need -- food and water," he said.

Tampa Electric Co. is sending line workers and supplies to the Bahamas, but that's because its parent company is Canada-based Emera, which also owns the Grand Bahama Power Co.

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