Hurricane Dorian is the most powerful storm to ever hit the Bahamas. Making landfall as a Category 5 on September 1, the hurricane not only brought flooding rains and wind gusts up to 220 mph, but it stalled over the area, moving at just 1 mph for much of the day. The devastation is greatest on Abaco and Grand Bahama islands. More than 13,000 houses, or about 45 percent of all homes, were damaged or destroyed in these areas, The Associated Press reports. And thousands of people in the majority Black area need food and clean drinking water. Seven people have been reported dead as of Wednesday (September 4), but the number is expected to rise as rescue crews arrive.
“We are in the midst of one of the greatest national crises in our country’s history,” Prime Minister Hubert Minnis told news the outlet.
As residents recover, there will likely be stark differences in how various communities access financial resources; beyond the resorts on Grand Bahama, Abaco is mainly inhabited by fishermen, manual laborers and migrants from Haiti. As one of the Caribbean islands closest to the United States—it is just 50 miles from the Florida coast—Americans frequently visit the Bahamas for both vacation and business. So it is not surprising that many in the U.S. have mobilized to organize relief efforts.
These organizations are working to help communities facing socioeconomic challenges after Dorian:
The New Florida Majority (NewFM)
Social justice organization New Florida Majority partnered with a dozen South Florida organizations—including the Florida Immigrant Coalition, Sant La Haitian Neighborhood Center and the Miami Workers Center—to support community emergency operations centers (CEOCs) in Miami, Fort Lauderdale, Palm Beach and Jacksonville. These centers were meant to provide resources and relief if Dorian struck Southern Florida. Since that region was spared the brunt of the storm, the CEOCs are now collecting items and money to help the Bahamas. “Miami has a rich Bahamian history and it’s only right for us to assist our families and neighbors in the Bahamas,” said Valencia Gunder, CEOC founder and criminal justice program manager for the New Florida Majority. Donate here.
World Central Kitchen
Celebrity Spanish chef José Andrés and his nonprofit, World Central Kitchen, have been in Nassau, Bahamas, launching four kitchens to make meals that can be flown into Abaco and Grand Bahama. Make a donation here.
How do we organize a response in Bahamas? Here’s our current map we are working from…. @WCKitchen has kitchens ready to go and shelters mapped out. If kitchens are destroyed, we build one and cook in big paella pans! https://t.co/yNzrfrKIaS pic.twitter.com/fa4sBN8qMe— José Andrés (@chefjoseandres) September 1, 2019
An Alexandria, Virginia-based charity, Good 360 has been providing international disaster relief for more than three decades. It is now requesting that corporations donate items for the Bahamas, including water, diapers, bedding, portable chargers and tarps. Individuals can make cash donations. To give, click here.
HKers Emergency Fund
In 2015, when Hurricane Joaquin hit the Bahamas, friends Lia Head-Rigby and Gina Knowles—two Bahamians living in the U.S.—decided to do something more than watch the news and feel terrible. They formed HeadKnowles and raised relief money, then did the same thing when Hurricane Matthew hit the island chain. The org has teams on the ground and is focusing on the people of Abaco and Grand Bahama. Head-Rigby, who flew over the region after Dorian hit, told the The Associated Press, “It’s total devastation. It’s decimated. Apocalyptic. It’s not rebuilding something that was there; we have to start again.” Donate here.
Team Rubicon USA
This nonprofit brings together military veterans and first responders to volunteer internationally during times of crisis. While they help all in disaster zones, the organization’s focus is on bringing assistance to vulnerable and socioeconomically at-risk populations who may not have the resources to rebuild. Its work includes removing debris, rebuilding homes and organizing local volunteers. The team went to the Bahamas before Dorian to board windows and lay down sandbags; it returned as part of the cleanup effort. Donate here.
This New York City-based nonprofit partners with local organizers to protect water ecosystems around the world. Its website reports that its Bahamian Waterkeepers are “ready to deploy to the scene, as soon as they can, to evaluate environmental impacts, assist citizens and inform the public.” Donations can be made by clicking here and then selecting “Hurricane Dorian—Bahamas” to direct your gift.
Grand Bahama Disaster Relief Foundation
Grand Bahama Disaster Relief Foundation was formed by Grand Bahama Port Authority in response to Hurricane Dorian. Through it, people can donate goods at official drop-off locations (including in the United States). The site also contains a list of government approved nonprofits and charities. To donate money, go here.
Humane Society of Grand Bahama
As with all natural disasters, humans are not the only ones who need assistance. Accordingly the Humane Society of Grand Bahama is asking for donations to help it rebound. As of press time, its staff, 75 dogs and 50 cats had been rescued, but the center, founded in 1968 to provide shelter for the island’s homeless and abused animals, needs to be rebuilt. Donate here.