USAID Administrator Mark Green's and Chargé d'Affaires Stephanie Bowers' Press Gaggle on U.S. Assistance to The Bahamas

Press Release Shim

Speeches Shim


For Immediate Release

Monday, September 9, 2019
Office of Press Relations
Telephone: +1.202.712.4320 | Email:

September 8, 2019
British Colonial Hilton Nassau
Nassau, Bahamas

ADMINISTRATOR GREEN: (Off-mike) -- response does not affect the ongoing response to residents in the United States who were affected by Hurricane Dorian. But we all recognize the important needs that are here. USAID is leading the humanitarian relief efforts of the U.S. Government, including lifesaving and life sustaining assistance. Food, water and sanitation, emergency shelter, and medical care needed to facilitate The Bahamian government's response as well as communications, electricity, transportation, and air traffic control support.

Most importantly, we are working closely with the Prime Minister and his leadership as he leads the response. Our job is to help him in his efforts to provide relief and to help recovery. We have had important, good meetings with the Prime Minister. I was impressed with his great pledge of assistance in working with us and he's made it clear that if we can identify any barriers, any logjams, any bureaucracy, he stands ready to clear that, and that's of course vitally important.

We've also met with some of our partners, humanitarian partners who were here on the ground. You know many of them from the Bahamian Red Cross to Samaritan's Purse to IOM to International Mercy Corps. They've been here since the beginning. I want to personally thank them for what they're doing. We have provided 2.8 million dollars in U.S. assistance so far. We've pledged to keep supporting the relief efforts of the Government but particularly working closely with our partners.

I had a chance earlier today to tour the damage from the air in Abaco. And what I was struck by was the focused nature of the devastation. So, there are parts of Abaco and The Bahamas that don't show a great deal of damage. And then there are clusters and communities that were devastated, almost as though nuclear bombs were dropped on them. That's how great the suffering is and the devastation is. We recognize that there's a long road ahead, but we're going to work closely with the Prime Minister and his Government to make sure that we help provide immediate relief and do what we can under his leadership for the important weeks and months ahead in recovery. With that, I'd like to introduce Chargé d'Affaires Stephanie Bowers, who can talk a little bit about her role and also introduce the lead the response. Chargé.

CHARGÉ d'AFFAIRES BOWERS: Thank you. Well, as was noted, we just had a meeting with the Prime Minister: Prime Minister Minnis. We have been in lockstep with him since this crisis began. We are coordinating closely with him and his National Emergency Management Agency to make sure we are doing all we can to help enable him deal with this disaster, which, quite frankly, it's the largest hurricane ever to hit The Bahamas. And this hurricane really set records in the Atlantic. It's the second strongest on record in terms of wind speed.

I think it's also important to remember the scale and scope of this. This is spread over two large islands and many small keys. There are a lot of isolated populations and we are doing everything we can to stand hand-in-hand with our Bahamian partners to make sure they get the assistance they need. And as part of that, USAID is leading that whole-of-government effort the U.S. Government has put forward to assist our Bahamian partners.

ADMINISTRATOR GREEN: And -- please, I was going to say I'd like to briefly introduce to you Mr. Tim Callaghan, who is our lead on the response. Tim's one of our very best and is a veteran of international disaster, particularly in this region. Led our response in the Haiti disaster. So, we're bringing our best and we're all in to help and help the government.

MR. BABINGTON: Time for just a couple of questions.

QUESTION: What's the death toll?

MR. BABINGTON: Can you say your outlet first?

QUESTION: Reuters, what's the death toll?

ADMINISTRATOR GREEN: I don't have that information. That would be a question better posed to the Government of The Bahamas.

QUESTION: Trevor Hughes from USA Today. You've got a lot of folks evacuating Grand Bahama and Abaco that are coming here to Nassau. Is there a concern at all about moving this disaster and the humanitarian crisis from those islands and sort of having a knock-on effect or a domino effect here in Nassau?

ADMINISTRATOR GREEN: Well, what I can say is you're pointing to an important development, that's something the Prime Minister is very much aware of. He spoke with us about that today and that's certainly something we have to take into account as we help provide relief. We're very much aware.

QUESTION: Do you think they are ready to take in all these people here?

ADMINISTRATOR GREEN: Again, it's a question I think better posed to the Government of The Bahamas.

QUESTION: Are you guys assisting with that, with refugees? How are you helping them to find jobs to -- accommodation?

ADMINISTRATOR GREEN: Again, a better question to the Government of The Bahamas. But what I will say is, we are here to work with the Prime Minister to do what we can to help provide immediate relief, particularly water sanitation and hygiene and emergency shelter. But there's a lot of work to be done.

MR. BABINGTON: Great. Thanks, guys.

Last updated: September 24, 2021

Share This Page