USAID Administrator Mark Green's Announcement of Additional Humanitarian Aid for The Bahamas

Remarks

For Immediate Release

Saturday, September 7, 2019

 
September 7, 2019
CEVA Warehouse
Miami, Florida

MR. BABINGTON: Good afternoon, you guys ready? Great. So as we talked about earlier, Administrator Green from the U.S. Agency for International Development is here today. He'll speak to you a little bit about our response in The Bahamas. After that we'll open it up to Q+A. If you have a question, I'll call on you and please just say what outlet you're with. So with that, I'll hand it over to the Administrator.

ADMINISTRATOR GREEN: Great, thanks Tom. Good afternoon everyone, thanks for joining us. As Tom said, I'm Mark Green, I'm the Administrator of USAID. And USAID plays the interagency lead role in international disaster response.

As all of you know, last week, The Bahamas were hit by a major storm, major hurricane, Dorian. As the world's largest humanitarian donor, the United States is actively engaged in responding to this crisis, at the request of the Government of The Bahamas.

I must say, as an American, I am humbled by the surge in generosity of Americans who are trying to help with relief efforts in the Bahamas and of course, nowhere is that more evident than right here in South Florida. I commend this resilient community who continues to be actively engaged, involved, and generous in their response in providing aid for those who are in need.

In terms of USAID's role, as the storm was coming in, we had prepositioned staff and within 24 hours of Dorian striking The Bahamas, we activated and deployed a Disaster Assistance Response Team - an elite team of disaster response experts - to assess damage, to identify humanitarian needs, and to help bring urgently needed assistance to those who were affected, and continue to be affected by this terrible hurricane. This team on the ground is coordinating with local authorities, humanitarian organizations, the U.S. Coast Guard, and the U.S. Embassy in The Bahamas. Our main goal is to support the ongoing relief efforts of the Government of the Bahamas, including the National Emergency Management Agency.

To date, more than 47 metric tons of USAID supplies have arrived in The Bahamas from our warehouse here in Miami to help an estimated 44,000 people. In addition, the Bahamas Red Cross, a USAID partner, is distributing USAID-funded relief items, including hygiene kits, portable stoves, and towels, to people affected by the hurricane.

And today, I'm announcing $1 million in additional humanitarian assistance to help people in The Bahamas affected by Hurricane Dorian. This brings USAID's total funding for this response to more than $2.8 million to date. And I think we all recognize this is a downpayment and ongoing humanitarian assistance will be needed.

This morning, I met with the Miami-Dade City Mayor Gimenez, as well as the City of Miami Mayor Suarez, and met with their teams to talk about what they've seen and the response from their communities in responding to the storm.

Later today, I am meeting with officials from the U.S. Coast Guard, who is helping us ship humanitarian aid from here in Miami to The Bahamas. USAID is also working closely on the ground in The Bahamas with the U.S. Northern Command. Our colleagues at the Coast Guard, the Northern Command, and across the interagency are indispensable in our efforts to reach the most affected areas.

Tomorrow, I will travel myself to The Bahamas to oversee firsthand these relief efforts and look at ways in which we can better respond to and reach out to people in need.

This is obviously a very difficult time for the people of The Bahamas. Clearly, there is a long and difficult journey ahead. But, to make it very clear, the United States is proud to stand with our neighbors and will continue to stand with our neighbors and friends in The Bahamas as we respond to and help them rebuild from this terrible storm.

With that again, thanks to all of you for joining, I really do appreciate your interest.

MR. BABINGTON: Any questions? Yes?

QUESTION: Can you talk about your meeting with Mayor Gimenez and just what Miami-Dade's role will be in helping (inaudible).

ADMINISTRATOR GREEN: What I can say is, we were brought up to date on things that they've already been doing. First off, as you know, the people of this area have been responding in an overwhelming fashion with their generosity, in making donations, and donating supplies, and so we talked a little bit about that, making sure we all had awareness. We talked about ways in which we can coordinate as we do assessments and reconnaissance. I think the key in any kind of a response is to make sure we have clarity on what's being done, what the needs are, where those needs are most prioritized, so that we can effectively respond in an efficient manner.

QUESTION: What would you say your frustrations are at this point?

ADMINISTRATOR GREEN: I don't have frustrations. I mean, first off, as we know, and particularly the people of area know, these storms are devastating and they cause immense suffering and our goal is working closely with the Government of The Bahamas at their request to make sure that we all have a clear assessment on what damages are, where relief is most needed, what kind of relief is most needed, and moving as quickly and as effectively as we can. So it's not a matter of frustration, it's a matter of determination to make sure we do this. I can tell you that the White House is very engaged. I spoke to the White House this morning, I spoke to the White House last night. I've just been traveling several days in South America, I spoke to the White House numerous times from South America; the full weight of the U.S. Government is behind this in making sure that we stand with our neighbors.

MR. BABINGTON: Any other questions? Great, thanks guys.

ADMINISTRATOR GREEN: Again, really do appreciate it.

QUESTION: Sir, real quick, what's your message to they American people who want to help? What's the best thing they can do?

ADMINISTRATOR GREEN: Best thing they can do is go to our website, usaid.gov/dorian, and that will provide contact points, also updates on what we have been doing and what we are doing and that can also talk about partners who we're working with that can that are vetted and people can be very comfortable that their donations will get to the places that are needed.

Thank you.

Last updated: September 07, 2019

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