Hurricane Dorian / Bahamas Relief Effort Update
Like many of you, I’ve been lucky enough to call Bahamas home a few weeks per year for the past 15 years. Two of my college best friends are Bahamians, live in Abacos and luckily survived the hurricane, sadly some others didn’t. Their stories about the devastation of the islands are horrifying.
The destruction caused by hurricane Dorian will have repercussions for many years to come. Based on the latest reports, most of the northern islands in the Abacos are completely destroyed, with up to 80% of the residents left homeless. Communities like Hope Town, Lubbers, Marsh Harbor, Guana Cay and Man O’War Cay are in desperate need of donations.
If interested in donating, I highly recommend you do some research, especially based on the current situation in the islands. I like my donations to go directly to those affected, without passing thru the hands of governments and/or agencies known for corruption. I asked both of my Bahamian friends about their recommendations and they both agreed to keep it away from the local government hands, instead involving local volunteer organizations and other groups already on the ground.
In terms of what to donate, cash has always been preferred by global relief foundations. Cash is flexible, can be used immediately in response to a crisis, and allows disaster relief organizations to purchase exactly what is needed, when it’s needed. Cash gives relief organizations the means to procure supplies near the affected area, which cuts down on transportation time and cost. Monetary contributions also support local economies and ensure that businesses can operate when relief supplies diminish. If you prefer to donate goods, they will also be greatly accepted.
Here are my choices for groups and organizations that are trusted by the local communities in the Abacos AND that are authorized by the government to deliver goods (currently both the USCG and the Bahamian government have asked private vessels and airplanes to stay away from the area, since they don’t have the infrastructure and security in place to receive donations by private parties)
- Albury Brothers Boats: I trust the guys from Albury Brothers because of their local roots in the Abacos and also because I personally know the owners of the US Division located in Riviera Beach, FL. They have been in contact with the Bahamian division, located in Man O’War Cay, before during and after the hurricane. They are working together with McCulley Marine Services who owns a 120’ barge with a 70 ton crane, already registered to work in the Bahamas and ready to deliver supplies as soon as this coming Friday.
*To donate supplies: Albury Brothers Boats, 1401 Broadway, Riviera Beach, FL. Suggestions include tarps, duct tape, batteries, food, water, generators, boats (yes all the boats are gone), chain saws, boots, gloves, water shield, hygene & first aid products, diapers, formula, bug repellent, sunscreen, camping lamps, tents, blankets, coolers
- Hope Town Volunteer Fire & Rescue: A local volunteering group with feet on the ground, responding to distress calls as we speak.
*To donate cash: http://htvfr.org
*To donate supplies: Abaco Relief HTVFR, 2633 Lantana Road, Hangar 310, Lantana FL 33462. Suggestions include Generators, Extension Cords, Work Gloves, Chainsaw Bar Oil, Gas Cans, Duct Tape, Tarps & Ropes, Hammers & Nails, Battery Operated Fans, Batteries, Flashlights, Bug Spray, Mosquito Nets, Unused Blankets, Cleaning Supplies, Nonperishable Food, Hygiene Products, Baby Supplies, Pet Food, OTC Medical Supplies, Solar Phone Chargers, Phone Battery Packs, Cleaning Products, Trash Bags, Disinfecting Wipes, Sunscreen, Camping Lights (Solar & Battery Powered)
- Sol Relief: Located in St. Pete Airport and ALREADY on their 4th plane load back and forth to the Bahamas. They are a group of experienced relief pilots and have the planes and boats with clearance to offer immediate supply deliveries. Sol Relief is collecting supplies by the airport where pilots and volunteers are loading up planes and flying them to Nassau. Supplies are then transported from the airport to the docks in Marsh Harbor with the help of Yacht Aid Global.
*Cash donations make transporting and delivering these supplies doable.
Hopefully, we can help the locals and their economy in such a way that they can rebuild and be prosper soon. This little piece of paradise will need us back as tourist as soon as the conditions permit.