06 September 2019

Press release - British Red Cross deploys team of mental health experts to support Hurricane Dorian survivors

For further information: 

Freya Carr

Claudine Frisby
0207 877 7751

Spokespeople available:

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

In the Bahamas: Jenelle Eli, jenelle.eli@redcross.org
In Geneva: Matthew Cochrane, +41 79 251 80 39, matthew.cochrane@ifrc.org
In Panama: Diana Arroyo, +507 6675 3300, diana.arroyo@ifrc.org

  • The British Red Cross has today deployed a team of emotional support experts, as part of a Foreign and Commonwealth rapid deployment team, to help Britons and EU citizens caught up in the havoc caused by Hurricane Dorian.
  • The team of three – who will arrive in Nassau, Bahamas on Saturday 7th September - are experienced in providing emotional support after extremely traumatic events. 
  • As well as providing emotional support to survivors, the British Red Cross also has a logistics expert due to arrive in Bahamas tomorrow to support in coordinating the international response. 

Clinical psychologist, Dr Sarah Davidson, heads up a team of British Red Cross staff and volunteers trained to support people wherever they are in the world when crisis hits.

“The devastation left by Hurricane Dorian is immense. The next few days, weeks and months are going to be some of hardest in the lives of those who have endured this disaster. 

“Increasingly we’re seeing how emotional support is as vital as water, food, shelter and cash, to help people start to recover from these kinds of emergencies. Whether you’ve lost your home, your relative or your livelihood, having another human being notice your pain and be kind to you helps with feelings of pain, loneliness and isolation.

“The British Red Cross have a team of volunteers on standby at all times to be deployed within hours of a crisis occurring. We’ve been called out more than 50 times since 2005 - including to Haiti, the Nepal earthquake, the Manchester Arena attacks and Hurricane Irma in the Caribbean.”

  • 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. 
  • The first Red Cross aid flight landed in Nassau yesterday afternoon from Panama, carrying, 1,600 tarpaulins, 800 shelter tool kits, 3,200 blankets, 700 kitchen sets, 600 jerrycans, 1,600 plastic buckets and 800 hygienic parcels. Two additional flights are planned for this weekend to deliver additional tents, water filters, mosquito nets and hygiene 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.
  • It is clear from initial aerial assessments 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 priority
  • The Bahamas Health Minister has reported that 17 people have died in the Abaco Islands and three on Grand Bahama— these figures are likely 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.  
  • Hurricane Dorian is now making its way along the US coast line, we are yet to see where it will make landfall, but there are potentially 60,000 people in Florida, Georgia, South Caroline and North Carolina in need of emergency shelter. 
  • 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 – https://donate.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: www.twitter.com/britishredcross  

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