Switzerland is extending its humanitarian aid to the Bahamas. Around 70,000 people in the Caribbean island nation are now dependent on aid in the wake of Hurricane Dorian, which caused extensive damage and many deaths at the start of September. Five experts from the Swiss Humanitarian Aid Unit (SHA) were deployed to the affected area on 13 September. Relief supplies in the form of a drinking water system arrived in the Bahamas the day before.
The five aid specialists sent to the affected area by Swiss Humanitarian Aid – part of the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC) at the FDFA – are experts in water and hygiene, logistics, emergency shelter and waste management. The team will ensure the handover and commissioning of the drinking water system and train the local authorities in its operation. They will also assess the situation on the ground and evaluate the need for further support in regard to emergency shelter, recycling of construction materials and waste management.
The water system, weighing around one tonne, arrived in the Bahamas the day before from a relief supplies warehouse in Panama, sent on a UN flight. It will provide clean drinking water for up to 10,000 people a day. It is likely to be set up in Marsh Harbour, the capital of the Abaco Islands. Swiss Humanitarian Aid can then expand its emergency measures as needed.
Last week, Swiss Humanitarian Aid allocated financial support for those in need: CHF 300,000 to the emergency relief operations of the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) and CHF 200,000 to the World Food Programme (WFP).
Hurricane Dorian has claimed at least 50 lives to date. However, more than 2,500 people are still missing on the most severely affected islands of Abaco and Grand Bahama. These two islands are home to a total of 68,000 people. Of a total population of around 355,000 in the Bahamas, 70,000 are now dependent on aid. There is an urgent need for food, clean drinking water and emergency shelter. On Abaco, up to 90% of homes and infrastructure have been damaged or completely destroyed.
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