26 September 2019
Press Release - British Overseas Territories raise impressive funds for Hurricane Dorian response | British Red Cross
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- Islanders from British Overseas Territories have raised significant funds towards the emergency response by the Red Cross in the Bahamas after Hurricane Dorian.
- Red Cross’ of Anguilla, Bermuda, British Virgin Islands, Cayman Islands, Montserrat and Turks and Caicos Islands have received considerable donations raised by the islands’ communities.
- The impressive fundraising by these small populations, the largest of which is Bermuda with just over 63,000 people residing there, has contributed significantly to the British Red Cross’ Disaster Fund.
- The British Red cross are supporting a wider international Red Cross response in the Bahamas through our Disaster Fund, and are very appreciative of the islanders in the British Overseas Territories for their contributions towards helping people affected by Hurricane Dorian.
- The British Red Cross are relieved that the latest stormy weather to hit the Bahamas, Tropical Storm Humberto, has just passed by Abaco Island in the Bahamas. But, we are in the midst of hurricane season in the Caribbean so the situation is still precarious.
- The further bad weather has presented more challenges with getting expert personnel and emergency relief items to the worst affected communities.
- The British Red Cross had mental health specialists in the Bahamas, supporting UK and EU citizens as part of a partnership with the Foreign & Commonwealth Office, who are specialists in providing emotional support after extremely traumatic events.
- And, currently have a logistics expert helping coordinate the international response, and soon will be sending a water and sanitation expert to help people have access to clean drinking water as well as an expert in understanding needs to help with planning response and recovery
- Thousands of people have evacuated the islands to the less affected capital of Nassau. Red Cross volunteers and staff are helping evacuees in the capital with relief items to shelters and mental health support following the trauma of the hurricane. And, we are reaching the worst affected areas for those that remain.
- The Red Cross are opening up cases of missing persons with the hope of families being able to trace, speak to and reconnect with their loved ones on other islands. 8 families have been reconnected so far.
- The number one priority for the Red Cross is getting emergency relief items to people affected. Hundreds of Bahamians have volunteered to help the Red Cross sort donations and pack boxes of supplies, hygiene items and food parcels.
- The Red Cross are also looking ahead to helping people recover their livelihoods and means of income. Livelihoods for many households have been destroyed, so this is a priority area for the next 18 months of recovery.
- The International Federation of the Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies has increased the funding needed for the emergency Hurricane Dorian appeal. The coordinated response from a number of Red Cross national societies, including the British Red Cross, is focusing on shelter, water, sanitation and hygiene promotion, livelihood building and basic needs, protection of women and girls, and disaster reduction for the next 18 months.
David Foster, Response Officer in the British Red Cross’ Emergencies Team that helps coordinate the international Red Cross response to disasters, including Hurricane Dorian.
“It may have been a few weeks now since the category five Hurricane Dorian, with its 185pmh winds, battered through the Bahamas and caused huge destruction, but the emergency recovery operations are still ongoing.
The international operation by the Red Cross in the Bahamas is very much focussed on meeting people’s urgent needs with emergency relief items, and ensuring safe drinking water and places to wash are available.
The British Red Cross are soon to send out an expert in water and sanitation to help make this happen. There are a number of challenges ahead, which we are dealing with each day. Being in the midst of the hurricane season is certainly not helping, but the Red Cross volunteers are doing an incredible job.
Within the first few weeks of disasters like Hurricane Dorian, donations do tend to slow down as the news reports on it less. So, we really do appreciate these impressive funds raised by people in the British Overseas Territories. It is very likely these people have faced similar stormy weather on their islands, so it is really heart-warming to see them come together and help those affected in the Bahamas.”
Wilnick, 39, and his wife Shella, 34, and their 11-month old boy Shemaio (pictured above) sheltered from Hurricane Dorian away from their boarded up home. Upon their return home they found everything was severely damaged. The Red Cross have supported the family with emergency relief items including jerry cans, toolkit, blanket, kitchen kit and hygiene kit.
“I need the relief items, but for me the most important is not the things I receive, but to know that we are not forgotten by the World. The generosity we meet shows that people stand together”
Wilmide, 18, might be the most positive person on Abaco in the aftermath of Hurricane Dorian. Her parents and younger siblings sheltered in their house as it was ripped apart by Hurricane Dorian. Since the hurricane, her father has been helping others rebuild their houses and the family received tool kits, hygiene parcels and kitchen set from the Red Cross.
“As the roof started flying off piece by piece, we were all running from room to room to seek shelter. My little brother started crying, while my little sister started praying.
At first, I was also a little bit scared, but at midnight we said ‘the hurricane came here to destroy us, but we survived!’ it was like this feeling, ‘we made it’. As the family came together and found everybody was safe, we began to help others”.
Further information on Hurricane Dorian situation:
- We are in the midst of hurricane season in the Caribbean, and tropical storms are threatening the huge international response to the damage caused by Hurricane Dorian. Special measures are being put in place by Red Cross teams to prepare for further storms.
- There is a massive, coordinated international response underway across the Bahamas. New challenges are presented each day with the further stormy weather causing delays in getting relief items into the worst affected areas.
- 90 tons of Red Cross and Red Crescent relief supplies arrived to the Bahamas as planned. The shipment included volunteer visibility kits, warehouse tents, jerrycans, tarpaulins, hygiene items and emergency shelter kits. And another ship has successfully delivered items to the Island of Abaco.
- Local Red Cross volunteers have been on the ground since day one, some who have been personally affected themselves by the devastation. In total the Red Cross Red Crescent Movement has over 200 volunteers on the ground supporting relief efforts.
- At least three Red Cross planes have landed safely in the Bahamas bring in much needed relief items. They carries 300 tarpaulins, 1800 shelter tool kits, 25,000 blankets, 1,900 kitchen sets, 3,600 jerrycans, 3000 buckets, 2300 hygiene kits, 1500 water filters, 2000 mosquito nets and 1000 cleaning kits.
- On 1 September 2019, the colossal Hurricane Dorian made landfall in the northern part of the Bahamas as a category 5 hurricane. It is one of the most powerful Atlantic hurricanes on record with sustained wind speeds of up to 185mph.
- On the ground assessments clearly show that tens of thousands of people need help dealing with everything from destroyed homes to contaminated water. Almost 50% of all homes in the islands of Abaco and Grand Bahama has been destroyed or damaged. Emergency shelter and urgent needs, like food and water, are the top priority
- The Bahamas Health Minister has reported that at least 50 people have died, and these figures will likely continue to rise.
- The Red Cross relief effort has ramped up as access to the islands has improved. The focus will be on addressing the needs of the most vulnerable – including an estimated 4,400 children under 15, and approximately 1,600 older people. Cash grants will also be provided to 1000 families which will allow them to repair and replace what they have lost, while also helping to bolster local economies in the short term.
- The UK public can help by donating to the British Red Cross Disaster Fund which will support people in the Bahamas whose lives have been devastated by Hurricane Dorian – redcross.org.uk/disasterfund
Notes to editors:
The British Red Cross helps people in crisis, whoever and wherever they are. We are part of a global voluntary network, responding to conflicts, natural disasters and individual emergencies.
We enable vulnerable people in the UK and abroad to prepare for and withstand emergencies in their own communities. And when the crisis is over, we help them to recover and move on with their lives.
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