Four days have passed since Category 5 Hurricane Dorian dumped heavy rain on the Abaco and Grand Bahama islands for more than 40 hours. As the storm tapers off, the devastation is immense. Families have been left stranded in their homes, knee-deep in high-rise water levels, while countless others are left homeless.
Aid Restricted Temporarily
“Seventy percent of the islands are covered in water and there’s no way to get to them right now,” says Leonardo Rahming, executive secretary of the South Bahamas Conference and disaster response volunteer for the Adventist Development and Relief Agency (ADRA).
Rahming added that local authorities have asked humanitarian agencies to be on standby as they work to clear debris on the roads, and ensure safety is in place before aid can be delivered. Sea ports have been closed, and airport clearances are being given only to federal officials and the coast guard.
“Water levels are too high on the Abaco islands so we must wait till the water recedes,” Rahming says. “There is easier access to people on Grand Bahama, and we are working to get provisions to them there.”
Due to airport and sea port closures, ADRA has established partnerships with Airlink and YachtAid Global to get food and water to access points. ADRA is also working with Rise Against Hunger to provide meals that will be distributed on the islands of Abaco and Grand Bahama. In addition to food and water, clothes and shelter materials will also be distributed.
Rahming shared that another challenge is limited warehouse space to store all the items received. “There’s just not much room,” he says.
Local Churches Step in to Help
That hasn’t deterred ADRA volunteers in the Bahamas who were able to work with local authorities to secure a boat in hopes of reaching people in need but are trapped by high waters.