The Bahamas - Hurricane Dorian Fact Sheet #10, (FY) 2019

September 20, 2019

OCHA records 2,000 people in need in northern Abaco

IOM completes first round of DTM, identifies needs in collective shelters

USAID partners continue to provide health, food, shelter assistance

Numbers At A Glance

52

Deaths Reported in The Bahamas due to Hurricane Dorian as of September 19

54,000

Number of People Supported by USAID In-Kind Commodities

17,200

Estimated Population of Abaco

51,000

Estimated Population of Grand Bahama

 

Humanitarian Funding

FOR THE BAHAMAS HURRICANE RESPONSE IN FY 2019

USAID/OFDA $16,217,074
USAID/FFP $1,000,000
DoD $8,490,000
TOTAL $25,707,074

 

As the Government of The Bahamas (GoB) National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) continues to coordinate early recovery efforts in islands affected by Hurricane Dorian, relief actors are conducting assessments aimed at refining strategies to meet the ongoing needs of affected populations. Following a needs assessment and analysis of populations remaining on The Bahamas’ Abaco Island, the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) estimates that more than 2,000 people remain in need of varying levels of assistance in northern Abaco.

USAID/OFDA partner the International Organization for Migration (IOM) completed a first round of its Displacement Tracking Matrix (DTM) exercise, which assessed seven of the ten remaining collective shelters hosting displaced populations in and around the capital city of Nassau on New Providence Island. DTM results indicate that most assessed populations’ basic needs are being met; however, relief actors remain concerned regarding water, sanitation, and hygiene (WASH) facilities and provision of non-food items in some shelters.

The Royal Bahamas Police Force (RBPF) confirmed 52 deaths due to Hurricane Dorian as of September 19. The RBPF, in coordination with the GoB Ministry of Health (MoH) Medical Examiner’s Office, leads victim recovery and fatality management efforts, and has underscored that the number of fatalities may increase as debris removal operations in storm-affected areas continue.

As of September 17, the UN World Food Program (WFP) had reached more than 3,600 people with ready-to-eat meals, with support from USAID/FFP. Various relief actors continue to distribute food assistance at more than 80 locations across The Bahamas’ Abaco, Grand Bahama, and New Providence islands.

In Grand Bahama’s Freeport city, relief actors report near-normal functioning of ports, restaurants, road traffic, and shops, and NEMA reports that some public schools and several government departments, including the Department of Labor and Road Traffic Department, have resumed or plan to resume operations in Grand Bahama beginning on September 23. The Grand Bahama Power Company had restored power to nearly 50 percent of its customer base as of September 18, according to media, and technical teams continue to work to fully restore power across the island. Furthermore, the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) reported on September 18 that the water system in Freeport is operational and safe for drinking, indicating progress in early recovery efforts.

Telecommunications networks are returning to service across affected islands, and emergency telecommunications actors, including WFP, have begun to transition satellite equipment to NEMA for continued use where appropriate for the duration of the hurricane season, ending November 30. In Abaco, Aliv, one of the country’s telecommunications providers, had restored 100 percent of its mobile network as of September 19, while the Bahamas Telecommunications Company (BTC) had restored nearly 20 percent of its mobile network to normal operations. Meanwhile, in Grand Bahama, 80 percent of Aliv coverage and more than 40 percent of BTC coverage was restored by the same day, NEMA reports.

Following a needs assessment, OCHA reports that as of September 19, approximately 4,000 people remained in surveyed areas of northern Abaco, compared to more than 16,000 people living in these areas as of the 2010 census. OCHA notes that approximately 2,180 people—or 55 percent of the remaining population figure—require assistance; however, the priority needs vary by location to include debris removal, electricity, food, fuel, health, infrastructure repair, safe drinking water, shelter, telecommunications, and WASH support.

As the number of displaced individuals residing in GoB-led collective shelters on Grand Bahama and New Providence remains steady, NEMA and other relief actors continue to develop strategies to address medium- and long-term housing needs. By September 19, nearly 1,900 people remained in ten shelters in New Providence and nearly 70 people remained in two shelters in Grand Bahama; NEMA reports that the shelter previously housing displaced individuals in Abaco was deactivated due to lack of use.

USAID/OFDA partner IOM completed a first round of its DTM exercise on September 18, which assessed the capacities and conditions of seven collective shelters in New Providence hosting displaced populations. While all assessed shelters possessed sufficient food supplies, safe drinking water, and health services, the DTM identified improved WASH facilities and non-food items as primary needs in some shelters. In New Providence’s largest collective shelter, Sir Kendall Issacs Gym, approximately 20 percent of the more than 1,300 residents were sheltering in tents outside of the main structure at the time of data collection. IOM plans to conduct additional DTM rounds for the remaining collective shelters in New Providence in the coming days, as well as for displaced populations in Abaco and Grand Bahama. The exercise intends to glean a better understanding of ongoing population movement and potential for returns. Additionally, the UN agency is working with the GoB Ministry of Social Services to implement the use of IOM information management tools, such as the cloud-based Integrated Shelter Registration System, to better capture real-time data on the status and needs of populations residing in GoB-managed collective shelters.

As of September 18, relief actors had distributed more than 270,000 meals at approximately 80 food distribution points across Abaco, Grand Bahama, and New Providence, according to the Pacific Disaster Center (PDC). On September 15, NEMA and the Bahamas Agricultural, Health, and Food Safety Authority initiated food security coordination meetings, in concert with WFP and other relevant relief actors, which aim to develop and implement food security strategies for populations in need across the three islands. While NEMA continues to emphasize that immediate food needs are being met, challenges remain in organizing unsolicited in-kind food donations and ensuring medium- and long-term market recovery.

With USAID/FFP support, WFP completed distribution of ready-to-eat meals for more than 3,600 people on September 17, reaching populations across 15 towns and settlements in Abaco and surrounding cays since the distributions began on September 8. The UN agency continues to conduct needs assessments in affected areas to inform planning for medium- and long-term food security programming.

As of September 20, relief actors report that sufficient clinical services appear to be re-established on Abaco and Grand Bahama in all populated areas, provided by re-opened GoB MoH facilities with support from emergency medical teams (EMTs)—groups of health professionals that meet internationally recognized standards to respond to foreign disasters or emergencies. On Abaco, six out of nine health facilities are fully operational, including all facilities on the main island. On Grand Bahama, five out of 12 health facilities are operational, including a Samaritan’s Purse field hospital in Freeport and a USAID/OFDA-supported International Medical Corps (IMC) EMT facility in High Rock; all five facilities east of Freeport are damaged or destroyed, and the small population in the area is supported by the EMT and mobile medical teams. There are currently six EMTs deployed, five of which are Type I—indicating outpatient or general mobile clinic services—and one of which, the Samaritan’s Purse field hospital, is Type II, indicating additional surgical capacity. Four out of six EMTs are planning to remain for at least two months and transition operations or referrals to the MoH. Each EMT deploys with at least one month of medical supplies and the MoH has received a large quantity of medical supplies through private donations.

To augment MoH efforts, USAID/OFDA partner the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) continues to work with relevant GoB authorities to identify and address health needs in storm-affected islands, as well as areas hosting displaced populations. With PAHO support, the GoB MoH established a mental health and psychosocial support (MHPSS) working group to coordinate and oversee MHPSS response activities and capacity-building measures for service providers; as of September 18, MHPSS services were available in all New Providence collective shelters, according to the MoH. In collaboration with PAHO, the MoH also continues to conduct disease surveillance activities and provide immunizations and health screenings for school-aged children in the collective shelters. Additionally, PAHO is supporting the GoB Ministry of Environment and Housing to implement vector control and surveillance measures, including proper waste and water management, near the collective shelters.

Nearly 70 percent of the population in Grand Bahama has access to piped water, while 40 percent of the population in southern Abaco and 90 percent of the population in northern Abaco have access to piped water, according to NEMA; relief actors continue to provide remaining populations with safe drinking water through bottled water and other modalities. Samaritan’s Purse is coordinating water delivery to serve affected populations in Abaco’s Marsh Harbour town and Grand Cay, located off the coast of northern Abaco, where DoD transported a 20,000-gallon water bladder on September 18 to replace a storage system destroyed by Hurricane Dorian. Non-governmental organization (NGO) Water Mission also continues to conduct WASH activities in Abaco and surrounding cays, including Treasure Cay and Moore’s Island, where the NGO recently installed a temporary water treatment system.

NEMA opened an additional distribution center at the Grand Bahama International Airport on September 19 to facilitate the receipt and distribution of donated food, water, and other relief supplies intended for storm-affected populations across the island. The airport remained operational with limited capacity as of September 18, according to the PDC, and continues to receive humanitarian relief supplies delivered by plane; NEMA indicated that locating a distribution center at the airport will enable nearby populations in need to more directly access relief supplies. NEMA has relied largely on a temporary warehouse in Freeport for the storage and distribution of relief commodities, but the government agency indicated plans to open at least two more warehouses in the coming days. U.S. Coast Guard (USCG) incident management assistance team experts embedded in the Grand Bahama emergency operations center continue to provide technical guidance to NEMA on logistics, warehouse management, and relief supply distribution.

GoB officials estimate that approximately 1.5 billion pounds of debris remain across Marsh Harbour due to Hurricane Dorian; NEMA and other relief and recovery actors are developing plans to address debris removal and other infrastructure-related challenges. In Abaco, the Royal Bahamian Defence Forces and Dutch military personnel continue to conduct debris removal activities on main roads, at the Marsh Harbour government complex, and around Central Abaco Primary School. Additionally, Dutch military personnel completed construction of a temporary causeway connecting Abaco’s Cooper’s Town to southern parts of the island on September 19.

To support ongoing early recovery efforts, the Caribbean Community deployed a Caribbean Disaster Emergency Management Agency damage assessment team, comprising technical specialists in agriculture, debris removal, education, health, housing, tourism, and waste management, to Nassau on September 17 and Abaco on September 18.

From September 1 to 2, Hurricane Dorian made landfall over Abaco and Grand Bahama as a Category 5 storm on the Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Wind Scale, bringing sustained winds of approximately 180 miles per hour, heavy rains, and storm surges of up to 23 feet to the islands.

As a result of widespread flooding and destruction to infrastructure caused by Hurricane Dorian, U.S. Chargé d’Affaires Stephanie Bowers declared a disaster in The Bahamas on September 2. In response, USAID/OFDA provided an initial $200,000 to The Bahamas Red Cross Society and rapidly activated a DART and Response Management Team (RMT). USAID/OFDA is also coordinating with the USCG, part of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security; the U.S. Department of Defense; and the GoB to swiftly deliver emergency relief items to populations in The Bahamas most severely affected by the hurricane.

The most effective way people can assist relief efforts is by making cash contributions to humanitarian organizations that are conducting relief operations. A list of humanitarian organizations that are accepting cash donations for disaster responses around the world can be found at www.interaction.org.

USAID encourages cash donations because they allow aid professionals to procure the exact items needed (often in the affected region); reduce the burden on scarce resources (such as transportation routes, staff time, and warehouse space); can be transferred very quickly and without transportation costs; support the economy of the disaster-stricken region; and ensure culturally, dietarily, and environmentally appropriate assistance.

More information can be found at: USAID Center for International Disaster Information: www.cidi.org/hurricane-dorian/ or +1.202.661.7710. Information on relief activities of the humanitarian community can be found at http://www.reliefweb.int.

Last updated: September 24, 2019

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