18 September 2019

British Red Cross receives donation from Her Majesty The Queen for Hurricane Dorian response

Press release - Red Cross receives donation from Her Majesty The Queen for Hurricane Dorian response 

For further information: 

Claudine Frisby

Spokespeople available:

For spokespeople in the UK: please contact Freya Carr or Claudine Frisby 

In the Bahamas: John Nissen, +1-242 801 6771 │ +45-2066 2822
In Geneva: Matthew Cochrane, +41 79 251 80 39, matthew.cochrane@ifrc.org
In Panama: Diana Arroyo, +507 6675 3300, diana.arroyo@ifrc.org

  • Her Majesty The Queen has made a private donation to the British Red Cross Disaster Fund in recognition of the relief efforts in the Bahamas responding to the colossal devastation caused by Hurricane Dorian. This will be going towards an international Red Cross effort to support 20,000 people in the immediate aftermath. 
  •  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.
  • 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
  • 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.  

Luis Sfeir-younis, Global Response Manager, is part of a dedicated team at the British Red Cross who help coordinate the international Red Cross response to disasters, including Hurricane Dorian. 

"The Red Cross emergency response in the Bahamas is well underway, but we are uncovering more damage, and more need with it, day by day. The next few weeks, months and perhaps even years will be some of the hardest moments in the lives of the people affected, as most people have lost so much.

The recent tropical storm has caused further challenges with getting much needed relief items and specialist people on the ground, with delayed ferries and cancelled flights. We are reacting to the situation as it unfolds in an ever-changing picture. 

The Red Cross’ top priority remains getting emergency items like food and shelter to people on the worst affected islands, and to shelters for evacuees in the capital of Nassau. The generosity of our donors, including Her Majesty The Queen, are helping to make this happen.

We are taking cases of missing people in the hopes of reuniting families with their loved ones who haven’t been heard from. Wherever possible we are arranging phone calls between missing family members to reunite them at a very hard time. 

We are continuing to provide mental health support, and preparing for potential further damage as we are in the midst of hurricane season. Sadly, this is not over yet.

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 
  •  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, and other disasters in the future – 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. 

Follow us on Twitter: twitter.com/britishredcross  

For more information on the British Red Cross please visit: redcross.org.uk