By Eric Alves, Regional Communications Specialist, American Red Cross of Northeast Ohio
September 23, 2019- Three weeks since Hurricane Dorian made landfall devastating the Bahamas, the Red Cross is continuing to provide relief for those affected by the storm.
There is a very long road ahead for people who have lost everything to Hurricane Dorian. Getting relief to people in the Bahamas and helping people plan their recovery are the American Red Cross’ priorities.
Thousands of people have evacuated the damaged islands via helicopter, plane and boat. They are staying on different islands with family members or at government-run shelters in the capital city. Some evacuees have joined loved ones in the U.S.
If you have lost contact with a US citizen traveling in the Bahamas, contact the U.S. State Department at 1-888-407-4747.
Families still remain on the devastated islands and are in need of basic relief, such as emergency supplies and hygiene items—which Red Cross teams are distributing on both Abaco and Grand Bahama.
The Red Cross has had to be flexible in our response to this crisis. The changing nature of this disaster—including on which islands affected people are taking shelter—means that aid is being delivered to storm survivors in places not majorly affected by the storm, such as Nassau.
Tele-connectivity challenges mean that many people still haven’t been able to get in touch with loved ones. In shelters, volunteers are helping evacuees make phone calls to their families. When necessary, volunteers are initiating missing persons cases with the hope of tracing loved ones.
Trained psychologists and nurses are providing comfort and mental health support to evacuees coping with emotional distress.
People remaining in communities damaged by Hurricane Dorian need emergency materials and help recovering from the storm. The global Red Cross network has started rolling out a major emergency relief effort.
Red Cross shelter, water and sanitation, health, logistics, cash-as-aid and other sector specialists are on the ground supporting the Bahamas Red Cross.
There has been an outpouring of support from both the international and local community.
Thus far, the American Red Cross has committed $4.5 million to support those affected in the Bahamas by Dorian.
The American Red Cross has deployed 21 disaster response specialists to provide support to the relief operation in the Bahamas.
The American Red Cross is also working in close coordination with the U.S. government and community partners to support evacuees arriving in the U.S. from the Bahamas immediately following the hurricane.
The Red Cross also stands ready to help again if the need arises.
Jim Celestino, a health service worker, was one of 20 disaster response workers deployed from Northeast Ohio to the southeast U.S. to assist with Hurricane Dorian. Watch the following video to hear Jim discuss his experience on his first deployment with the Red Cross and his call for others to become Red Cross volunteers:
Currently, we are in the middle of hurricane season, with tropical storms Karen and Jerry fast approaching Puerto Rico, Bermuda and the U.S. Virgin Islands. Tropical Storm Imelda has also also made landfall, forcing the governor of Texas to declare a state of disaster.
The Red Cross continues to remain prepared to respond to provide relief at a moment’s notice whenever a disaster devastates a community.
Visit redcross.org/donate to help support the Red Cross’ efforts to respond to and assist in the aftermath when the next storm such as Dorian strikes.
Your donation to the Red Cross helps provide food, shelter, relief supplies, emotional support, recovery planning and other assistance during disasters.