Between 1-2 September 2019, Hurricane Dorian, a category five storm, devastated the Bahamas. The hardest hit areas were the Abaco Islands and Grand Bahama in the north-western section of the country. Approximately 76,000 people were affected.
Electricity is not available and running water is limited. Parts of the affected communities particularly in Abaco, are destroyed and are uninhabitable.
Search and rescue operations continue in the hardest hit communities. The official death toll stands at 50 while over 1,300 people have been reported missing. Those numbers are expected to change as the Coalitions of Urban Search and Rescue (USAR) continue with efforts to access hard to reach areas.
The Government of Bahamas, through the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA), has taken the lead on coordinating the emergency response from its National Emergency Operations Centre (NEOC) in Nassau. An emergency support function (ESF) humanitarian coordination structure has been developed and is comprised of 13 ESF’s, each with their own lead government ministries and departments. Through NEMA, the Government has facilitated and encouraged mass evacuation from Abaco to Nassau, Bahamas. Nearly 5,000 people have been evacuated; approximately 1,902 people are presently living in government approved emergency shelters in Nassau, 71 are in shelters in Grand Bahama while 3 persons be being sheltered in Abaco.
The temporary flight restriction is still in effect for Abaco and Grand Bahama. From 13 September 2019, limited commercial traffic has been permitted for aircrafts with a local air operator’s certificate at the Grand Bahama International Airport.
In the affected areas there is a public-private sector coordination for the delivery of food, water and supplies for the remaining families. Large scale debris removal has not commenced and is scheduled to being shortly after search and rescue efforts have been completed.