It is hard to watch the videos of the devastation caused by Hurricane Dorian in The Bahamas.
Joy Jibrilu, director general of the Bahamas Ministry of Tourism & Aviation, said of the destruction caused by Hurricane Dorian on Grand Bahama Island and on The Abacos, that: “Our thoughts and prayers are with our fellow Bahamians and residents in these two northern islands, especially those who have lost loved ones.”
And Jibrilu added: “We are overwhelmed by the amount of inquiries about relief efforts, and encourage everyone to go to www.bahamas.com/relief for verified ways to help.”
And help is on the way, if not already on the scene and here are some of the companies and organizations now offering assistance.
Royal Caribbean Launches Bahamas Relief Effort
In the aftermath of Hurricane Dorian, Royal Caribbean is rolling up its sleeves and inviting its passengers to help with relief efforts in the Bahamas.
The cruise company said in a statement that: “The Bahamas has always been more than a destination for Royal Caribbean and our guests. For more than half a century, we’ve made many friends and many memories. The Bahamas is also home to more than 500 of our colleagues who work at Perfect Day at CocoCay and the Grand Bahama Shipyard.”
To help with relief efforts, Royal Caribbean is committing $1 million to the Dorian disaster relief, and ITM — our partner in the Holistica joint venture that is developing the Grand Lucayan resort in Freeport — is also donating an additional $100,000.
And the statement continued: “To make sure our donations go where they can do the most good, we are collaborating with the Bahamian government and our non-profit partner, the Pan American Development Foundation (PADF), and a network of Bahamian charities and other local organizations, including the Bahamas Feeding Network.”
Already, Royal Caribbean said that: “We are loading all kinds of goods onto our ships — generators, water, cleaning supplies, clean sheets, towels, and more — for direct delivery to the Bahamas. The trained employee volunteers we call the GO Team are on their way to assist with relief efforts. And we’re taking special care of coworkers and their families who were affected by the storm.”
And the cruise line also said that it is “matching every dollar of guest and employee donations to PADF so they can help our friends as well.”
Royal Caribbean concludes its statement, saying: “We can’t make every bad memory of Dorian go away. But we can start making things better—today.”
To contribute, go to https://www.padf.org/hurricane-dorian-royal
Sandals Resorts Is Ready To Help
In a statement, Sandals Resorts said: “Our hearts and prayers are with those affected by Hurricane Dorian, especially in the northern islands of the Bahamas. We are fortunate to report that our Bahamian resorts were not in Dorian’s path and have not been affected. All of our guests and team members at Sandals Royal Bahamian, Sandals Emerald Bay and Fowl Cay are safe and comfortable.”
The statement continues: “We wish to extend a heartfelt thank you to all who have reached out to check on us. The Sandals Foundation stands ready to assist our neighbours in the Northern Bahamas, and we have established an urgent first responders disaster relief collection for monetary donations. 100% of all funds will go towards relief and rebuilding efforts in the Abaco Islands and Grand Bahama Island.”
Go to www.sandalsfoundation.ord/donation to help.
Carnival Corp. extends support
“On behalf of all of us at Carnival Corporation, and our cruise line brands, let me begin by saying our thoughts and prayers go out to the great people of The Bahamas — our friends and partners for many years,” Carnival Corporation CEO, Arnold Donald said in a statement.
Donald said that: “It was very emotional seeing reports of Hurricane Dorian’s impact over the past couple days. Our hearts go out to those who have lost friends and loved ones, and whose homes and businesses have been destroyed or damaged.”
He continued: “Knowing and working over many years with so many Bahamians, we have long admired the strong spirit, determination and love of life they exhibit. We look forward to supporting their forthcoming hard work to rebuild, recover and again welcome tourists and cruise guests with open arms to their beautiful country.”
Carnival Corporation’s CEO said: “To our friends in The Bahamas, please know you will not be alone in your effort. All of us at Carnival Corporation pledge to work with you. We have been and remain in constant contact with government officials as they determine the highest priorities for both the short term and long term.”
He noted that: “In recent weeks, there have been questions about our commitment to two major projects on the islands of Grand Bahama and Half Moon Cay. We remain fully committed to those projects as part of the recovery and rebuilding process.”
And Donald concluded: “We know this is a difficult time. But we have no doubt that the unyielding spirit of the Bahamian people will overcome, recover, rebuild and be stronger and more resilient than ever.”
United Nations ready to help
United Nations agencies and their partners have issued renewed warnings of the destruction caused by Hurricane Dorian in the Bahamas, saying yesterday that they are worried “for every single” person on two of the worst-hit Caribbean islands.
At a briefing in Geneva, Jens Laerke from the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) said that initial assessments from Grand Bahama and the Abaco Islands – where the storm made landfall and was effectively stationary as of Tuesday morning, local time – were “rather catastrophic.”
Laerke told the Sept. 3 briefing: “As we heard, it made landfall in the Abaco Islands; the population there is a little more than 17,000 people, we are concerned for all of them. It is now over the Grand Bahama, the population there is about 51,000 people and we are concerned for every one of them. The Prime Minister of the Bahamas has said already that five individuals have been confirmed killed as a result of this hurricane.”
Initially classified as a Category 5 hurricane at the weekend when it hit the Bahamas’ northwest with wind gusts of over 320 kilometres per hour, Dorian has now been downgraded two notches.
But it still has the potential to be deadly, regardless of its rating, according to the World Meteorological Organization (WMO).
Confirming the widespread damage from the high winds and amid reports of storm surges between five and seven metres high, the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) said that more than 13,000 houses had been severely damaged or destroyed – about 45 per cent of all homes on the two islands.
Initial assessments carried out by the World Food Programme (WFP) with the Caribbean Disaster Emergency Management Agency (CDEMA) and other humanitarian partners, indicate that Abaco will likely require food for more than 14,000 people and Grand Bahama for over 47,000 people.
With a handful of specialized staff on the ground to provide support in food security, emergency telecommunications and logistics, WFP spokesperson Hervé Verhoosel said that they would support the Government of the Bahamas in “rapidly assessing the damage from the hurricane and in prioritizing needs” over the next three days.
This is an enormous humanitarian and development challenge for the Bahamas. Within the past few years, the Bahamas has been seriously affected by at least three major hurricanes, all Category 4 storms or above. The impact of hurricanes Joaquin, Matthew and Irma on the Bahamas has been reported to have cost approximately $820 million,” he said.