• Since September 9, International Medical Corps has treated more than 420 patients.
• Nearly a month after Hurricane Dorian devastated parts of the Bahamas, nearly 600 people remain missing. The official death toll now stands at 56.
• We are increasing MHPSS capacity and coverage by cross-training volunteers, especially those with prior mental health training.
• Three handwashing facilities have been installed at our High Rock Clinic.
Nearly a month after Hurricane Dorian devastated parts of the Bahamas, almost 600 people are still missing. The official death toll is 56, but, given the number of people still missing, the number of fatalities is expected to rise. Recovery teams face major challenges as they work to access hard-to-reach, isolated areas where widely dispersed groups of transient and largely undocumented people had lived before the storm. Across the Bahamas, the hurricane caused about $7 billion in property damage.
In the past week, Prime Minister of the Bahamas Hubert Minnis announced the formation of a new government agency, the Ministry of Disaster Preparedness, Management and Reconstruction, which will lead Hurricane Dorian recovery and development efforts, as well as future disaster responses in the country. Prime Minister Minnis also addressed the United Nations General Assembly on Friday, September 27, describing Hurricane Dorian as a “generational tragedy” and called on world leaders to take urgent action to combat the global climate crisis.
Though normal commercial flights are slowly resuming, the main airport terminal on Grand Bahama is destroyed, forcing passengers flying out of the airport to wait for their flights in tents. Roads are littered with debris and downed trees, and Bahamians are continuing work on what is left of their homes.
The Grand Bahama Power Company has restored power to Freeport’s Rand Memorial Hospital, which has been operating at limited capacity since the storm hit. Health workers at the Rand Memorial Hospital have noted a number of concerns they face in the coming weeks and months, including immediate needs for:
• community mobilization to address key health and hygiene challenges at damaged health facilities and their catchment communities;
• mental health and psychosocial support (MHPSS), given an anticipated rise in need from the wider population as the shock of the destruction begins to fade, and many have lost homes and loved ones; and
• restoration of water, sanitation and hygiene services health facilities (for example, the 8 Mile Rock clinic has a reservoir but cannot get the water into the facility).