Over 70,000 people are now homeless and 44 have been found dead on the Grand Bahama and Abaco Islands, the parts of the Bahamas hardest hit by Hurricane Dorian.
Bahamas Prime Minister Hubert Minnis described destruction caused by the hurricane that hovered over the islands for nearly two days as “one of the greatest national crises in our country’s history.” Hundreds are still reported as missing.
With the death toll rising and survivors in desperate need of supplies and medical care, numerous organizations are coordinating relief efforts. Among the groups helping to distribute aid are the Christian organizations Convoy of Hope and Samaritan’s Purse.
Samaritan’s Purse, a nondenominational, evangelical Christian disaster relief organization, says its team of more than 60 staff members have been on the ground in the Bahamas since Sept. 4. At the request of the World Health Organization and the government of the Bahamas, they set up an emergency field hospital and flew in a team of medical specialists, including doctors and nurses.
The 40-bed facility has “an outpatient department and emergency room, equipped to serve up to 100 patients a day,” Samaritan’s Purse said. The field hospital is also equipped with an obstetrics ward with a delivery room, and an operating room where as many as 10 surgeries can be performed each day.
Bev Kauffeldt of Samaritan’s Purse gave a disaster relief update on the organization’s website and described seeing reports that the Rand Memorial Hospital in Freeport had been severely damaged by floodwaters, highlighting the need for the field hospital. Their DC-8 aircraft, which has already transported over 12 disaster response teams and more than 30 tons of emergency relief items, will continue to transport aid for as long as it’s needed, she said.
Along with setting up a field hospital and medical equipment, Samaritan’s Purse has also provided emergency shelter materials, household water filters, and two community filtration units that turn saltwater into drinking water.
More than half of all homes on the Abaco Islands and Grand Bahama have either been destroyed or sustained extensive damage.
“The level of damage is so intense that it’s almost difficult to conceptualize what force or convergence of forces could have led to the shattering, the splintering of buildings of stone, of concrete and wood,” Duane Sands, minister of health in the Bahamas, said Sunday in an interview with The Wall Street Journal.
Sands said 600 humanitarian aid flights are going into Abaco each day. But even though supplies are coming in, there are only a few vehicles on the islands that didn’t sustain damage and can be used to transport supplies. On Grand Bahama, for example, there is only one working ambulance, he told WSJ.
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SOURCE: Christian Post, Melissa Barnhart