Being a Part of the Abacos Recovery
Even with more images and videos appearing daily of the fate of the Abacos from Hurricane Dorian’s wrath, it remains hard to fathom the statistics. The New York Times published some compelling before and after images of popular Bahamas destinations. According to the Red Cross, ~13,000 homes roughly ~45% of the homes on Grand Bahama and in the Abacos are severely damaged or virtually razed. 60,000 Bahamanians need clean water and food. And they will need it for a long time.
While airports are opening up and harbors are starting to clear with fueling options surfacing, it is still a challenge to provide the relief needed, especially if you are an individual. Not only is it more effort to get goods you purchased to where they need to be, but also larger organizations can make donated money to further by purchasing in bulk and only purchasing what will be used. And, over time, needs will change. Right now, recovery work and getting the much-needed basics for survival are the focus. Later, it will be resources to rebuild. So by donating money rather than your time and personal effort during this chaotic period, you will be doubly helping.
We urge our fellow sailors to team up with reputable organizations that are fully prepared to use donations where they are needed and in coordination with the other massive efforts underway and the rebuilding efforts that are forming. TIME put out an article that does a great job of highlighting the effective efforts of governmental agencies in the US, Canada, and Bahamas and of non-profit organizations and businesses with ties to the region.
Selecting an Bahamas-Related Organization to Support
Passage Maker wrote an excellent article and makes some suggestions on such organizations to donate to. In a subsequent blog post, Passage Maker makes another excellent suggestion to support Hope 4 Hope Town – benefits throughout Abacos.
There are many other quality organizations, but if you have not vetted one for yourself, here are some recommendations:
- World Central Kitchen – Non-profit that mobilized immediately as the winds died down with much needed meals.
- Direct Relief – Providing medical service and overall disaster relief.
- International Medical Corps – medical care and supplies.
- Hope 4 Hope Town – benefits relief and recovery throughout Abacos.
- Bahamas Red Cross
- Third Wave Volunteers – search and rescue, medical, and recon teams along witn distribution routes set up to provide interim needs such as solar lighting while electrical power is out
The Long Haul of Abacos Recovery
As debris from harbors and dangerous water perils are removed from the Abaco Sea, news will begin to trickle out about changed channes and passageways making it possible and safe for those familiar with the islands to support in a more direct way. And we look forward to doing so ourselves.
Remember, that while we all feel the urgency now to “do something”, it will be 2, 3, 4 years from now when the recovery is still underway that reaching out to help will be just as vital. So none of us need to rush to help in a way that causes more chaos or puts us in harm’s way. Putting our worried energy to work planning a future restorative act of kindess is a great way to use that “do something now” feeling.
We have been forming a few ideas about continuing our tradition of hosting the Catamaran Guru All-Catamaran Rendezvous held annually in May in the Abacos. But in 2020, the itinerary may create opportunities to help the islanders rebuild. Stay tuned for more on that.
It will be a while before the beautiful islands are lush with tropical plants and businesses are open to feed and entertain visitors, but that just creates a bigger reason to support the islands’ recovery now and in the coming years. The Bahamas will one day be beautiful, but their people remain beautiful, strong, and friendly…and so should the sailing community by reaching out to help.
Please donate and plan to be a part of the rebuilding in the coming years.
One of the Best Ways To Help the Bahamas Recovery
The Bahamas is made up of 700 islands in the Atlantic Ocean, and the Bahamians rely heavily on tourism. Most of the Bahamas was unafected by hurrican Dorian and islands like Nassau, Paradise Island, and The Exumas are open for business and can still benefit from visitors. The islands most affected are the Abacos and Grand Bahama.
An island vacation may feel counterintuitive in supporting the Bahamas after Hurricane Dorian. But it may be the most effective way to show support right now. If you can’t go on vacation in the Bahamas, there are still other ways to help the Bahamas recover.