From September 1 to 3, Hurricane Dorian devastated northwestern Bahamas. With winds of 300 kilometers per hour, Dorian was the strongest storm in recorded history to hit these islands. While much of the archipelago was spared, Dorian caused extensive damage to Abaco and Grand Bahama islands. Reports state that at least 60 people died, around 500 remain unaccounted for, and about 70,000 are either homeless or otherwise adversely impacted. The storm caused some 7 billion dollars’ of property and infrastructure damage.
One month later, the affected communities are slowly recovering, thanks to assistance from The Bahamas’ friends and neighbors.
The United States was there to assist The Bahamian people even before Hurricane Dorian made landfall. In advance of the storm, the U.S. Coast Guard evacuated hundreds of people.Once the storm moved out to sea, the U.S. Agency for International Development led a whole-of-government response to provide lifesaving assistance to thousands more. USAID’s Disaster Assistance Response Team airlifted and shipped crucial aid and supplies to hard-hit areas. U.S. technical experts are still working with Bahamian officials, as well as 180 NGOs, 30 international organizations, and the private sector, to provide health, food, and shelter - and to facilitate the recovery of ports, communications, and utilities.
In October, USAID Administrator Mark Green announced that the United States will provide 7.5 million dollars in additional humanitarian assistance, the majority of which will support medical services at Rand Memorial Hospital on Grand Bahama Island. The funds will also provide debris removal, emergency shelters for displaced families, repairs to water and sanitation infrastructure, and emergency water supplies.
This brings the U.S. Government's total funding for disaster response to The Bahamas to nearly 34 million dollars.
As the world's largest donor of humanitarian assistance, the United States remains committed to helping the people of The Bahamas. Meanwhile, The Bahamas is open for business and tourism. Perhaps the best way we can all help the Bahamian people, we should is by keeping in mind that The Bahamas remains open for business - including tourism. This holiday season, consider paying The Bahamas a visit - your patronage will help the people of these beautiful islands recover.