Marsh Habour, Bahamas. Following Hurricane Dorian’s catastrophic destruction in the Bahamas, a Malteser International team has arrived in the country and joined local partners to assess the priority needs and propose first response actions.
“The scale of damage caused by Dorian has made emergency response in Abaco and partially in Grand Bahama an extremely complex endeavor from a logistical point of view,” said Ravi Tripptrap, Executive Director of Malteser International Americas. “We have been monitoring the situation with various emergency operation centers, including the National Emergency Management Authority (NEMA) and United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) as well as the Embassy of the Order of Malta in Nassau. Based on our consultations, we have decided to commence our aid interventions immediately after search and rescue operations.”
Response activities will target affected people in Marsh Harbour, one of the hardest hit areas. In addition to setting up temporary shelters in the form of mobile homes for returning families whose homes have been destroyed, Malteser International will provide support for the reconstruction and re-equipment of the School of Saint Francis de Sales and the Every Child Counts School for children with special needs .
“At present, Marsh Harbour is something of a ghost town,” says Tripptrap. “The trailers will provide shelter options for both construction workers and its returning residents pending rehabilitation of their homes. Malteser International has committed $100,000 for the Hurricane Dorian response which will go towards the rehabilitation of the schools, procurement of construction materials and trailers as well as food and water for people affected.”
On September 1, the eye of category 5 Hurricane Dorian made landfall on the Abaco Islands with maximum sustained winds of 295 km/h, making it the strongest hurricane on record to affect the Bahamas. Approximately 75,000 people are estimated to be in need of humanitarian assistance in the disaster that has claimed 53 lives, with hundreds of people yet to be accounted for.
Malteser International will continue to work closely with Order of Malta to the Commonwealth of the Bahamas, along with the Office of the Archbishop of Nassau, and other humanitarian aid groups to develop and carry out an effective response to Dorian and its aftermath. However given the scale of the disaster, more resources may be needed to support relief efforts in the Bahamas.