A. SITUATION ANALYSIS
Description of the disaster
Hurricane Dorian hit the country on 1 September 2019. It made several historical records as the strongest Atlantic Hurricane documented to directly impact a landmass since records began, tying it with the Labour Day Hurricane of 1935. While the Bahamas has over 700 islands, the hurricane significantly impacted the islands of Abaco and Grand Bahama and the surrounding Cays. The official death count is 74 casualties (63 Abaco and 11 Grand Bahama) and 282 persons still missing. The Caribbean Disaster Emergency Management Agency (CDEMA) estimated a total of 15,000 people in need of food or shelter, following the hurricane, with an estimated 5,000 people evacuating to Nassau, New Providence. The Government stated Dorian caused USD 3.4 billion in losses and damage in the country.
Abaco Islands were the most severely affected, particularly by the strong winds. Assessments of Abaco found widespread destruction, with thousands of houses levelled, telecommunications towers down, and water wells and roads damaged. Water, electricity, sanitation and shelter continue to remain the priority needs for the population of Abaco. Although the electricity grid is starting to be repaired and outside of Marsh Harbour power supply is starting to return. Data from the Ministry of Public Works and actors engaged with the shelter cluster has confirmed that destroyed buildings are concentrated in the area surrounding Marsh Harbour. In this area, the most ravaged are The Pea and The Mudd, which are mainly inhabited by groups in situation of vulnerability, as well as the area of Scotland Cay. Varying degrees of damage were also registered in critical infrastructure in Abaco such as health centres, Marsh Harbour port, airport and schools. Challenges continue as many people have not been able to return to their homes and remain dislocated.
In Grand Bahama, the central and eastern parts were the most impacted, with homes damaged between Freeport and Deep-Water Cay. A damage assessment6 carried out by the Department of Social Services estimated 75 per cent of houses analysed near Eight Mile Rock West End, Freeport and East End, were destroyed or suffered major damage.
The Kendal GL Isaacs Gymnasium closed in mid-February. As of 31 March 2020, less than 250 hurricane-affected people remained in two shelters in New Providence (Bahamas Academy Auditorium and a hotel nearby (Poinciana Inn). These figures are decreasing on a weekly basis as people find alternatives and the Government also assesses other potential solutions.
COVID-19 situation in the Bahamas: The Government of the Bahamas has installed daily curfews, weekend lockdowns, closure of international borders, limitation of domestic flights, social distancing measures, and reduced operations to essential business and services only. The Ministry of Health published a daily update of its COVID-19 dashboard and press conferences are held weekly to provide the latest information on new cases and adjustment of measures. BRCS maintains coordination with government authorities to support response efforts in face of COVID-19. A contingency plan is in place to both protect volunteers and staff of the BRCS, as well as to conduct scenario planning on how the pandemic may impact The Bahamas Dorian Operation. Up to date information on the activities of BRCS as part of the national COVID-19 response and covered outside of this revised appeal is available on the IFRC GO Platform and IFRC’s regional updates.