While thousands of families flocked to the beach for Labor Day weekend, Category 5 Hurricane Dorian battered the northern Bahamas. A catastrophic combination of 185-mile-per-hour winds and painfully slow storm speed (the tempest crawled along at just 1 mph) left at least 30 dead and nearly 13,000 homes and businesses destroyed or severely damaged (at press time) across Abaco Island and Grand Bahama Island.
After 48 hours of continuous rain and wind, the all-clear was officially issued for the Bahamas on September 4, though the path to recovery has only begun for the victims left behind in Dorian’s disastrous wake.
“There are no words to convey the grief we feel for our fellow Bahamians in the Abacos and Grand Bahama,” Bahamas Ministry of Tourism & Aviation minister Dionisio D’Aguilar said in a statement. “Now is the time to come together for our brothers and sisters in need, and help our country get back on its feet.”
Relief teams have been deployed to the islands that took the brunt of the storm’s fury, but there’s still plenty you can do to help aid the victims of the tragedy. Here are some suggestions.
Though images on the news show massive destruction, don’t assume that the entire nation has been decimated. The bulk of the 700-island chain emerged relevantly unscathed from Hurricane Dorian, including the capital of Nassau and neighboring tourist hub Paradise Island.
Southeastern and Central Bahamas, including the Exumas, Cat Island, San Salvador, Rum Cay, Long Island, Crooked Island, Ragged Island, Mayaguana and Inagua, also escaped harm.
Visit the Islands
Tourism is the major economic driver in the Bahamas, and following a natural disaster like Dorian, the country will needs those dollars more than ever.
Following the all-clear on September 4, D’Aguilar said, “We also implore travelers to continue visiting the Bahamian islands that were not impacted by Hurricane Dorian as this will help our people tremendously.”
While properties like Nassau’s The Ocean Club, A Four Seasons Resort, Bahamas and The Cove at Atlantis on Paradise Island have their neighbors on their hearts and minds, they continue to welcome visitors.
Send Your Financial Support
Even if you can’t get to the Bahamas right now, there are still plenty of ways to help.
The Islands of the Bahamas tourism bureau has established an online resource center with information about how to make monetary and goods donations.
You also can follow the progress of José Andrés and his relief organization World Central Kitchen. The noted chef, who hasn’t hesitated to lend a hand in Puerto Rico, Houston and other places ravaged by natural disasters in recent years, has been posting updates (most recently from Marsh Harbor in Abaco) on his Instagram feed, and his nonprofit offers a live map of its temporary kitchens and shelters. WCK is accepting donations for its efforts through its website.