Salvation Army Hurricane Dorian response adapts to changing needs in the Bahamas
Two months after the devastating Category 5 Hurricane Dorian hit large swathes of the Bahamas, The Salvation Army’s emergency humanitarian response continues.
Many evacuees have returned to their storm-damaged homes, while others are staying in government-run shelters, unofficial shelters, private residences or are unsheltered. Relief operations have adapted to meet the changing needs on the islands, with International Emergency Services teams from The Salvation Army active in three main locations—Nassau, Grand Bahama and the Abaco Islands.
The Salvation Army Nassau Divisional Headquarters is handling overall logistics and coordination of the relief effort. While direct service to evacuees from the Abaco Islands and Grand Bahama continues, the focus has shifted to sorting, logging and distributing the large quantity of donated items—nearly 2,000 pallets of goods ranging from clean drinking water and grocery parcels to bleach and other cleaning products. Twenty-six pallets of tarpaulins have been assigned to Freeport, Grand Bahama, alone. Consignments to the Abaco Islands include plywood sheets, generators and other construction supplies, representing the greater level of destruction there.
Six individuals remain in a shelter established by the Grants Town Corps and coordination meetings with other relief agencies continue in order to ensure all needs are being met.
In Freeport, Grand Bahama, The Salvation Army has worked with government agencies, non-governmental organizations and private sector partners to coordinate longer-term recovery planning and activity. Following a mass distribution operation using the corps building as a base, ground teams commenced mobile food distribution in Freeport and heavily damaged East End Grand Bahama neighborhoods. In addition to delivering essential food items and cleaning supplies, the teams conducted community assessments, provided emotional and spiritual care, and promoted training opportunities.
The Freeport Corps created a child friendly space—available three hours on three days each week—in conjunction with IsraAID. Mental health and psychosocial support training is occurring with Caritas and the International Medical Corps, and includes delivery in American Sign Language.
On the Abaco Islands, The Salvation Army engages with all emergency response coordination groups and is part of the government administrator’s advisory group. Conditions are slowly improving, and the partnerships have enabled significant distributions of bottled water and clean-up kits. In anticipation of future grocery voucher distributions, the team in Marsh Harbour has partnered with other agencies to design and conduct a vulnerability assessment of Abaco and the surrounding cays.
A film crew from the USA Eastern Territory recently visited the islands to document the effects of Hurricane Dorian and The Salvation Army’s response to date. The first of these short films, which includes contributions from Salvation Army team leaders and volunteers, is available online.
From reports by The Salvation Army’s Caribbean Territory
Hurricane Dorian updates are posted on the International Headquarters website at sar.my/dorian.