On September 1 2019, Hurricane Dorian made landfall as a Category 5 hurricane in The Bahamas with wind speeds in excess of 185mph, lashing The Bahamian islands of Great Abaco (pop. ~17,200) and Grand Bahama (pop. ~51,000). After striking The Bahamas, Dorian’s travelling speed slowed to 1 mph over Grand Bahama, prolonging the island’s exposure to life-threatening storm surges of 18-23 feet above normal tide levels. Dorian is the strongest hurricane on record for The Bahamas and has tied a record for the strongest Atlantic hurricane to make landfall.
With immense support from our local and global partners, we’ve committed to working in The Bahamas for at least two years and are delighted to restart operations this month, following the COVID-19 suspension.. Our focus will continue to be on response work in some of the hardest-hit areas. Our long-term recovery program will target reconstruction in schools, homes and critical community infrastructure (e.g. health clinics, libraries, etc.).
Before our program suspension due to COVID-19, our teams had been working tirelessly to get schools back up and running in Marsh Harbour, performing work on seven schools, including Every Child Counts, St. Francis de Sales and Central Abaco Primary School (the biggest public school on the island). As we return to Marsh Harbour, we will focus our efforts on the completion of Every Child Counts as well as honoring our commitments to support the continued work at Central Abaco Primary School.
Alongside our work in schools, we also had a queue of more than 120 homes before our program suspension; working on roofs, mucking and gutting and mold sanitation. We had expanded our work in homes extensively and added other community-based facilities, like a library and clinics, to our queue. We anticipate that roof repair and mold sanitation will continue to be one of the highest needs for residents on Abaco and plan to engage in these scopes of work on as many homes as possible.
A special thank you to our long-term partner, Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings, and generous supporters for helping us reach our initial funding goal.