Abaco damage severe, says lead co-ordinator
The people of the Bahamas need “emotional and spiritual” support after the destruction of Hurricane Dorian, a frontline relief worker said.
Major Clarence Ingram, formerly with the Salvation Army’s Bermuda Division, said that the island of Abaco “is nearly uninhabitable”.
He added: “The damage is severe. In addition to helping with physical needs, the people need emotional and spiritual care.
“This is the most extreme hurricane damage I have ever seen.”
Major Ingram, the divisional commander for the Salvation Army’s Bahamas and Turks & Caicos Division, is co-ordinating the relief efforts for evacuees for Abaco, Nassau and Grand Bahama.
He was speaking after Bermudians came together last weekend to amass 200 tonnes of supplies to send to the region.
The 63-year-old said on Tuesday that low-lying areas of Nassau, which had been flooded, had “mostly returned to normal, with the exception of ongoing power outages and challenges with the phone system”.
He said the situation elsewhere was much different.
Major Ingram explained: “Grand Bahama and Abaco Islands both have severe damage which will require many years to rebuild.
“Life is very hard — especially on Abaco.”
He said that most residents of Abaco had been evacuated to Nassau where shelters had been opened.
Major Ingram said that his focus was “to supply the essential for life”, including water, food, clothing and shelter.
He added: “We will gradually add assistance with building materials, etc, as people are in a position to receive them.”
Major Ingram said he was not involved in rescue efforts which are being handled by the military, defence forces and rescue specialists. He said that the biggest obstacle that he faced was logistics. Major Ingram explained: “Getting supplies to the impacted islands is very challenging.”
He said that financial assistance to purchase needed supplies and to pay for transportation, warehousing, and other similar costs was most essential.
The Category 5 hurricane tore through the Abaco Islands and Grand Bahama last week, destroying thousands of homes and killing at least 50 people.
Anthony Ferguson, the Commissioner of the Royal Bahamas Police Force, said that as of Monday, 42 bodies had been found in Abaco and eight recovered on Grand Bahama. He added in a statement: “We anticipate the discovery of more deceased persons as the process of search and recovery progresses.”
Calvin Ming, the public relations and development director for the Salvation Army’s Bermuda Division, thanked the Bermuda public “for their outpouring and expressions of love in providing goods and materials for early distribution in the Bahamas”.
People can donate at www.helpsalvationarmy.org.
An account for donations has been set up at the Bermuda Credit Union Co-op Society.
The spokeswoman encouraged all to contribute. She said: “We are imploring our members to make deposits to this account — no matter how big or small.”
The account number is 9693.
• For more information contact LaVerne Furbert on 292-0044 or firstname.lastname@example.org
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