The Bahamas - Hurricane Dorian Fact Sheet #3, (FY) 2019

September 7, 2019

USAID relief commodities reach Abaco and Grand Bahama for distribution by GoB authorities

Electricity and telecommunication services remain limited or unavailable in affected areas

WFP transports ready-to-eat meals, relief commodities, and support for logistics and communication services to The Bahamas

USAID/FFP contributes $1 million to WFP to provide food assistance

Numbers At A Glance

43

Deaths Reported in The Bahamas due to Hurricane Dorian as of September 7

76,278

Estimated Number of People in The Bahamas Affected by Hurricane Dorian

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 $1,815,340
USAID/FFP $1,000,000
TOTAL $2,815,340

 

Following several days of impaired access to The Bahamas’ Abaco and Grand Bahama islands, which sustained extensive damage as Hurricane Dorian made landfall over the islands on September 1 and 2, emergency relief supplies—including buckets, hygiene kits, water storage containers, and shelter materials provided by USAID—have reached the islands for onward distribution to storm-affected populations.

The U.S. Coast Guard (USCG) and a USAID-deployed search-and-rescue (SAR) team continue SAR operations in worst-affected areas of the islands in coordination with the Government of The Bahamas (GoB).

The GoB and other response actors have commenced rapid needs assessments on Abaco and Grand Bahama to better determine the extent of needs and inform response planning. The GoB National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) continues to coordinate the emergency response, with support from UN agencies, non-governmental organizations (NGOs), and international donors, including the U.S. Government (USG).

A USAID Disaster Assistance Response Team (DART) is coordinating the USG response, engaging in damage and needs assessments, identifying priority needs, and working with partners to provide critical assistance to storm-affected populations.

To date, the USG has provided more than $2.8 million to the emergency response, including $1 million from USAID/FFP to the UN World Food Program (WFP) for emergency food assistance and more than $1.8 million from USAID/OFDA for relief commodities and logistics support.

An estimated 3,300 people were residing in shelter sites in Abaco and Grand Bahama by the evening of September 5; approximately 800 people were sheltering at a hotel facility in Grand Bahama, while 2,500 people were sheltering in a government complex, a primary school, and a health clinic in the vicinity of Marsh Harbour town in central Abaco. Response actors have identified rubble removal and emergency repairs of structures and key water and sanitation infrastructure as priority needs.

The Rand Memorial Hospital in Grand Bahama sustained damage to hospital equipment and supplies, though remains partially operational. Three clinics on the island are also at least partially operational, while others are under assessment or remain inaccessible.

As of September 5, telecommunications services on Abaco and Grand Bahama were intermittent but improving; however, electricity remained unavailable on the islands, the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) and the Caribbean Disaster Emergency Management Agency (CDEMA) report. The Bahamas Power and Light Company anticipates electricity services in central and southern Abaco can resume within the coming weeks, while restoring power to northern Abaco could take several months due to the extensive infrastructure damage.

On September 6, two WFP-chartered planes delivered 14,700 individual ready-to-eat meals, as well as generators, mobile storage units, satellite communication systems, and temporary office structures to support the establishment of logistics bases, to Nassau for onward transport to Abaco and Grand Bahama; the planes also transported 8 metric tons (MT) of medical supplies and relief commodities, respectively, for PAHO and the International Organization for Migration. A Télécoms Sans Frontières team has also arrived in Marsh Harbour to support establishment of satellite communication systems.

The GoB Ministry of Health (MoH) has deployed medical personnel and technicians to Abaco and Grand Bahama to rotate staff and begin cleaning operations at the Marsh Harbour clinic and Rand Memorial Hospital. The GoB is also deploying additional security forces to the islands to ensure the security of health workers and other relief actors in response to reports of looting.

Additionally, four international NGO Emergency Medical Teams (EMTs) were deployed or preparing to deploy to The Bahamas as of September 7 to bolster medical capacity on Abaco and Grand Bahama; the MoH has established an EMT Medical Information and Coordination Cell with support from PAHO to support the EMTs. One of the EMTs—a Type 2 team composed of physicians, surgeons, nurses, and support staff—from Samaritan’s Purse arrived in Nassau on September 6 for a three-month deployment; the Samaritan’s Purse EMT, equipped with tents and more than 30 MT of medical equipment, plans to establish operations on Grand Bahama in the coming days. On Abaco, a mobile Type 1 Team Rubicon EMT arrived on September 5 for a 15-day mission; the Team Rubicon EMT has the capacity to treat 100 patients per day. The other two international EMTs—both Type 1—are en route to Abaco and Grand Bahama.

The GoB commenced rapid needs assessments in Abaco’s Treasure Cay town and Grand Bahama’s Freeport city on September 6. NEMA is leading the assessment teams, which comprise several GoB entities, including the Department of Environmental Health Services, the Department of Meteorology, the Ministry of Public Works, and the Water and Sewage Corporation, as well as the Bahamas Power and Light Company and Aliv, a telecommunications provider.

NEMA continues to lead coordination of the emergency response from its national emergency operations center (EOC) located in the capital city of Nassau; the EOC hosts daily coordination meetings with stakeholders, attended by NGOs, UN agencies, and donors, including DART members.

Royal Bahamian Defense Force (RBDF) boats, on behalf of NEMA, delivered nearly 32 MT of USAID commodities—including buckets, hygiene kits, water storage containers, and plastic sheeting sufficient to support up to 31,500 people—to Abaco and Grand Bahama on September 6; USAID/OFDA chartered a commercial flight to transport the emergency relief supplies to Nassau from a USAID regional warehouse in Miami, Florida, on September 4.

The RBDF plans to deliver 15.5 MT of USAID plastic sheeting, sufficient to support the emergency shelter needs of 12,500 people, to the affected islands in the coming days; five USCG Cutters delivered additional plastic sheeting supplies to Nassau on September 6. NEMA will coordinate the distribution of the supplies to affected populations.

With USCG and U.S. Customs and Border Protection aircraft support, the USAID-deployed SAR team conducted reconnaissance flights on September 5 and 6 over parts of Abaco and Grand Bahama to determine priority areas for operations. The 57-person SAR team—deployed with 50,000 pounds of medical equipment and specialized tools such as cutting tools, inflatable boats, life vests, listening devices, search cameras, and water rescue equipment—will establish a base of operations on Abaco on September 7; the team has also commenced structural assessments of infrastructure on Abaco.

The USCG also continues to support the transport of DART members to survey affected areas. On September 6, DART shelter and water, sanitation, and hygiene (WASH) specialists assessed humanitarian conditions in the three central Abaco collective sites hosting storm-affected populations, and plan to conduct additional assessments in the coming days.

The USCG conducted preliminary assessments of the ports in Freeport, Grand Bahama, and Little Harbour, Abaco, on September 5. The assessment identified minor damage to the port of Freeport with viable access points for USCG ships to offload assistance; similarly, the USCG observed most infrastructure at the Little Harbour port to be intact.

In addition to working closely with the USCG, USAID is working with the U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) and has requested the unique capabilities of U.S. Northern Command to provide airlift and logistics support for USAID-led humanitarian response activities. U.S. military helicopters began transporting members of the DART and critical response equipment to Abaco on September 7.

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 09, 2019

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