Bahamas: Hurricane Dorian Situation Report No. 01 (as of 7 September 2019)

This report is produced by the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) in collaboration with humanitarian partners. The next report will be issued in 24-36 hours.

HIGHLIGHTS

• Following the passage of Hurricane Dorian, a category 5 hurricane, from 1-3 September on Abaco Islands and Grand Bahama, the Government of The Bahamas revised the death toll to 43 on 6 September: 35 people died in Abaco Islands and eight in Grand Bahama. Many remain missing and the number of casualties is expected to increase.

• UN agencies and humanitarian organizations are supporting the government-led response, under the leadership of the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA), and in close coordination with the Caribbean Disaster Emergency Management Agency (CDEMA).

• As access to affected areas is progressively resuming, albeit limited, needs assessments are being undertaken by UN agencies and humanitarian organizations: on 7 September, two assessment teams accessed several locations across Abaco Islands, the most affected.

• Relief assistance to respond to the most urgent needs is arriving in Nassau and dispatched to affected areas, including 14,700 individual meals-ready-to-eat from WFP which arrived on 6 September and were immediately delivered to the islands.

SITUATION OVERVIEW

On 6 September, the Government of The Bahamas revised the death toll to 43: 35 people died in Abaco Islands and eight in Grand Bahama. Many remain missing and the number of casualties is expected to increase. Search and rescue operations continue, as well as evacuations.

The Abaco Islands are the most severely affected. Initial assessments for Abaco found widespread destruction, with thousands of houses levelled, telecommunications towers down, and water wells and roads damaged. There is very limited or no water, electricity and sanitation. In Marsh Harbour, most of the infrastructure is damaged; “the Mudd” area, mostly inhabited by migrants, many undocumented, has been destroyed, therefore leaving this community in a particularly vulnerable situation.

In Grand Bahama, the eastern part is the most affected, with homes damaged between Freetown and Deep Water Cay. Oil tanks have also been damaged.

While many of the 3,300 people estimated to sheltered in Abaco Islands (2,500) and Grand Bahama (800) in Government buildings (as of 5 September) have reportedly been evacuated or left the shelters, those remaining in shelters or in affected areas need water, food, sanitation, medicines, among others.

Across Abaco Islands and Grand Bahama, airports and seaports are increasingly becoming operational, allowing assistance to be delivered. However, access to affected people, in particular in Abaco Islands remains challenging, including due to damaged roads and infrastructure.

Further assessments to accurately determine the scope of needs are underway. In support of NEMA, UN agencies and partners conducted assessment missions in Abaco Islands on 7 September, and will continue in the coming days. These assessments follow CDEMA’s regional Rapid Needs Assessment Teams (RNATs), which conducted aerial assessments over Abaco Islands and Grand Bahama on 4 and 6 September. In Abaco, the flight mission recommended that in the short term, the emergency response will want to provide for roofing material, debris removal, full restoration of power, support to the Abaco Emergency Operations Centre, immediate shipment of supplies to Marsh Harbour and similarly affected areas, access to safe water and vector control activities, with medium-term considerations for water safety to minimize public health risks. For Grand Bahama, findings from the aerial reconnaissance indicate that the eastern end of the island was badly damaged. Other potential needs observed include relief supplies, a detailed assessment of an oil refinery that sustained damage, restoration of telecommunications, debris removal and vector control.

UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs:
To learn more about OCHA's activities, please visit https://www.unocha.org/.