• The death toll from Hurricane Dorian rose to 53 during the past week but more than 1,000 remain missing and the number of fatalities is expected rise.
• The main container port in Grand Bahama, located in Freeport, has reopened and is operating normally.
• Education officials on Grand Bahama toured the island’s public schools on September 19 as part of a plan to restart classes for most students on Monday, September 23.
• At the request of the Grand Bahama Public Heath Authority, International Medical Corps has expanded its emergency medical care and related services to island residents in communities west of the capital, Freeport.
Important public services and commercial life continue to resume activity in hard-hit areas of the Bahamas more than three weeks after Hurricane Dorian destroyed large pockets of this small island country.
On Grand Bahama, the island’s main container port in Freeport has resumed normal activities, with trucks seen leaving the port loaded with urgently needed building materials required to begin the daunting task of rebuilding damaged and destroyed homes, businesses and other structures lost to the hurricane.
Education officials on Grand Bahama toured the island’s public schools on September 19 as part of a plan to restart classes for most students on Monday, while other in authority struggled with the challenge of returning residents displaced by the storm back to their home areas. One Public Health Authority official estimated that only 30% of the population have so far returned to their communities in eastern areas of Grand Bahama, which were especially hard-hit. “Getting people back depends on repairing the infrastructure,” the official said. “The roads are clear and the traffic is up, now we have to get the power and water back.” As more rural health clinics reopen on Grand Bahama, a local public health official noted several concerns they face in the coming weeks and months. Among them:
Getting patients—especially those with chronic disease such as diabetes or hypertension—back to their normal clinic, where they are known and staff have the time to address, explain and be prepared to follow up on any special needs.
Maintaining a close watch for any evidence of water-borne disease in a post-disaster environment where so many familiar water sources are either unavailable or polluted.
Preparing for what they anticipate will be a spike in needs for psychosocial support once the immediacy of the disaster and the experience of their own personal survival begin to fade. Dr. Stacie Bevans, manager of the Grand Bahama Public Health Authority’s Community Health Programs, underscored this in a recent meeting: “It’s an adrenalin rush now, but after a month, reality sets in and people begin to get angry and depressed.”