…PPP urges consistent regional and global support
…lauds bravery of Bahamians during storm
…GBTI donates $3M
As support pours in from across the world for the Bahamas, the Guyana Government has activated a response mechanism to facilitate assistance and support for the Caribbean island, which was ravaged by Hurricane Dorian over the last few days.
The Category 5 hurricane left widespread and extensive destruction in the Bahamas with many homes, businesses and other buildings completely or partially destroyed. This devastation has triggered a worldwide show of solidarity as countries lend support to the island via various means.
Local relief efforts are being led by the Civil Defence Commission (CDC) and according to its Director General, Lieutenant Colonel Kester Craig, he will be meeting with members of the Private Sector Commission (PSC) today with the view of mobilising and dispatching resources to the hurricane-ravaged island.
The Caribbean Disaster Emergency Management Agency (CDEMA) is currently monitoring the effects of Hurricane Dorian. The Rapid Needs Assessment Team (RNAT) located in Bahamas has prepared a pre-impact analysis, in collaboration with the national lead agencies, which is currently being reviewed by the Government of Bahamas through the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA).
According to Craig, the island has identified water pumps, reverse osmosis plant, bladder tanks, generators and hygiene kits as immediate needs. But he noted the most appropriate need at this time is financial support.
To this end, the CDC says it has established accounts at various commercial banks in Guyana so that persons can make donations for relief efforts. The accounts’ information will be circulated as soon as they are made available. The monies raised would be used to support response teams deploy, establish and manage shelters and to procure relief supplies.
In addition to setting up an account, the Guyana Bank for Trade and Industry (GBTI) has also donated $3 million to the relief efforts.
“We see the destruction caused by Hurricane Dorian and we understand the need for the people to get back to their normal lives and it is inherent within us to help,” said GBTI Executive Director Richard Isava.
Persons interested in making contributions can use the ‘GBTI Hurricane Relief Fund – Bahamas’ with account number 011802963011.
Another account ‘Disaster Relief Fund’ with account number 651-993-8 was established at Republic Bank Limited for persons to make donations to the relief efforts.
Meanwhile, the Commission will also be reaching out to Guyanese living in the Bahamas who were impacted to determine what level of support is needed. Craig told Guyana Times on Wednesday that the Foreign Affairs Ministry here was in the process of obtaining the information of Guyanese on the island.
Additionally, the CDC is in talks with the Department of Energy (DoE) and other key partners after CDEMA made a request for an Oil and Gas Specialist in refineries to be identified within Member States so they can be deployed to the island as part of the RNAT.
The Commission has since updated Minister of State, Dawn Hastings-Williams, on the situation and she has, in turn, briefed Cabinet on Guyana’s preparedness to respond. The Government has committed to tangibly contribute to relief efforts after the devastation caused by Hurricane Dorian.
Regional and global support
Meanwhile, the Opposition People’s Progressive Party (PPP) has also joined in extending sympathy and support to the Government and people of the Bahamas in this time of devastation.
“Guyanese are horrified by the unspeakable destruction of life and property on the Abaco and the Grand Bahama Islands. At the same time, we salute the bravery and selflessness of so many Bahamians to rescue people in their communities under dangerous conditions,” the Party stated.
Furthermore, the PPP recognised that the Bahamas will require consistent regional and global support for a long time to come as it reconstructs the once tourist-haven.
“Guyana must extend its support to Bahamas as quickly as possible, as it has unflinchingly done in the past for fellow brothers and sisters in the Caribbean who suffered terrible natural disasters”.
On Sunday, the Category 5 hurricane made landfall on the Bahamas at approximately 12:40h with 185 mph winds. The following day, it downgraded to a Category 3 hurricane but it still exhibited slow forward movement.
The total population expected to be affected on Grand Bahama and Abacos Islands— the two of the worst affected islands within the Bahamas— is estimated at 76,278.
Bahamian Prime Minister Hubert Minnis has so far confirmed seven deaths, but noted this might increase. He called the storm a historic tragedy.
“This was a crisis of epic proportions,” he told reporters on Tuesday evening.