The Bermuda Red Cross extended a big thank you to “the people of Bermuda for their overwhelming support”,to the tune of $336,391.04 in donations for ongoing hurricane relief efforts in the Bahamas, in the wake of Hurricane Dorian.
The catastrophic Category 5 hurricane inflicted widespread devastation killing at least 65 people, with countless others missing and thousands more homeless.
“Bermuda Red Cross’ mission is to respond locally and globally to those in need, helping the vulnerable and enabling the community to be prepared and to respond,” a spokesperson said.
“We would like to thank the people of Bermuda, (individuals, schools and corporations) for their overwhelming support. Despite having gone through our own devastating hurricane weeks after Hurricane Dorian, we continued to support the needs of our brothers and sisters in the Bahamas.
“To date we have received $336,391.04 with donations being received daily. These funds have been sent to the British Red Cross, who will in turn transfer all monies to the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent.
“The International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent have assessed the needs and have itemized the areas where the funds will be utilized.”
Those areas include:
- There are currently about 4,800 registered evacuees and 2,078 evacuated people in collective centres in New Providence [Nassau]. There is an urgent need to support the most vulnerable families who have no income or have limited savings to prevent them from using negative coping mechanisms.
- People sheltered in Abaco in different collective shelters have very basic or insufficient access to clothing, blankets or bedding, since access to the sites where they are staying is challenging due to lack of transportation means and fuel. Food is not available in Abaco Islands; however, The World Food Programme has started distribution of ready to eat meals at the collective shelters.
Water, Sanitation & Hygiene
- Water supply needs remain extensive in the affected areas of Grand Bahama and Abaco, where groundwater is the primary water source and well fields have been impacted by saltwater intrusion and other possible chemical and biological elements. Currently, the populations of Grand Bahama and Abaco have been advised to avoid consuming water from wells or using it for hygiene purposes.
- Waste management, cleaning, and purification of water sources are urgently needed. There is little or no water, electricity or sanitation in Abaco so far. In Treasure Cay [Abaco], a 500,000 USG storage tank was blown away as well as the sewer lift station. Water is being pumped from two wells in Lucaya and Settler’s Way areas to supply Freeport, but the supply is restricted due to limited access to electricity.
- It is estimated that 6-8 weeks following the Hurricane risk for vector-borne diseases will be high. Indeed, such disasters often flush away mosquito breeding sites but then as water recedes and environmental conditions worsen, breeding sites and mosquito populations increase. In addition, the debris and challenges of solid waste disposal in this post-disaster environment create ideal conditions for other vectors such as rats which also carry disease.
Protection, Gender & Inclusion
- During emergencies, women are more exposed to risks related to gender violence, which can occur at any time. Persons with disabilities often have different needs, requirements and vulnerability risks based on their gender, age and disability. Girls and women with disabilities also face multiple and intersecting discrimination based on both gender and disability. This places them at even greater risk for isolation and violence.
Livelihoods and basic needs
- Considering the massive destruction, affected households are in need of wide range of goods and services that include but are not limited to food, shelter, clothing, educational support, communication, transportation and debt-repayment. The livelihoods of affected households have been severely disrupted. Both Grand Bahama and Abaco rely heavily on the tourism industry [restaurants, hotels, tours, etc.] – an industry that largely drives the economic development of The Bahamas.
- A vulnerable population of people who had been residing in Abaco in six  unregulated housing sites has been particularly affected. The informal settlements called The Pea and The Mudd have sustained catastrophic damage. These areas are likely to record significant number of deaths in addition to other damage. People who remained in Abaco after Hurricane Dorian expressed fear of deportation if they accepted evacuation to Nassau. Migrants in The Bahamas are often associated with illegal status, poverty, lack of education and violence.
Disaster Risk Reduction
- It is crucial after the impact of such a catastrophic event as Hurricane Dorian, to identify the communities that were affected by the disaster and apply an inclusive resilience programme, that pays special consideration to the affected migrant communities, using a Community based Disaster Risk Reduction [CBDRR] approach.
Moving forward, Bermuda Red Cross will also assist the Bahamian Association with “the cost for two 20 foot containers to be shipped from Bermuda through Florida to The Bahamas”.
“The $2,600 donation will be used to defray the cost of Inland Freight from the port in Jacksonville , FL to West Palm Beach, FL. The 2 containers will then be shipped on to the Bahamas by Tropical Shipping,” the spokesperson said.
“Thank you Bermuda for continuing to have a giving heart when the world needs you.”