Aid delayed by extensive road blocks, intense flooding
SILVER SPRING, MD (September 5, 2019) – Four days have passed since Category 5 Hurricane Dorian dumped heavy rain on the Abaco and Grand Bahama islands for more than 40 hours. As the storm tapers off, the devastation is immense. Families have been left stranded in their homes, knee-deep in high-rise water levels, while countless others are left homeless.
Aid Restricted Temporarily
“Seventy percent of the islands are covered in water and there’s no way to get to them right now,” says Leonardo Rahming, executive secretary of the South Bahamas Conference and disaster response volunteer for the Adventist Development and Relief Agency (ADRA).
Rahming added that local authorities have asked humanitarian agencies to be on standby as they work to clear debris on the roads, and ensure safety is in place before aid can be delivered. Sea ports have been closed, and airport clearances are being given only to federal officials and the coast guard.
“Water levels are too high on the Abaco islands so we must wait till the water recedes,” Rahming says. “There is easier access to people on Grand Bahama, and we are working to get provisions to them there.”
Due to airport and sea port closures, ADRA has established partnerships with Airlinkand YachtAid Globalto get food and water to access points. ADRA is also working with Rise Against Hungerto provide meals that will be distributed on the islands of Abaco and Grand Bahama. In addition to food and water, clothes and shelter materials will also be distributed.
Rahming shared that another challenge is limited warehouse space to store all the items received. “There’s just not much room,” he says.
Local Churches Step In to Help
That hasn’t deterred ADRA volunteers in the Bahamas who were able to work with local authorities to secure a boat in hopes of reaching people in need but are trapped by high waters.
“We’re the only NGO to do this,” says Rahming, “Local Adventist church members have been working around the clock to help. Grocery stores are opened so members are shopping to get items. What’s needed right now are food, water, and medicine.”
Rahming says he encountered an asthmatic who needed help, however clinics were closed, and medical facilities were running out of medicine.
“The people of Bahamas are a resilient group, but they are hurting because of the devastation,” Rahming says, “I hope the world doesn’t forget the Bahamas and thinks we’ll be okay because we have resources. ADRA has been a great support to us—but the Bahamas still needs ongoing help.”
How You Can Help
Support has been pouring in to help ADRA with aid relief in the Bahamas. Here are a few things that can be done:
- Invite your friends and family to support at ADRA.org
- Fundraise through Facebook. Go to Facebook.com/fund/joinADRA/, set up a fundraiser for ADRA and share with your friends and family.
- Pledge and share your support on other social media platforms, like Twitter and Instagram and include the link to donate at ADRA.org/HurricaneDorian.
- If you’re sending a check, please make it payable to ADRA International and write “ADRA Hurricane Dorian Response” in the MEMO. On the tithe envelope in “Other” section, write “ADRA Hurricane Dorian Response.”
- Call in at 1-800-424-ADRA (2372)
More information will be provided as it is made available.
Image: Houses flooded in Grand Bahama
The Adventist Development and Relief Agency is the international humanitarian arm of the Seventh-day Adventist Church. Its work empowers communities and changes lives around the globe by providing sustainable community development and disaster relief. For more information, visit ADRA.org.