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 traveling 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’re committed to performing continuous work in The Bahamas through September 2021. Our focus will be on the restoration of the Every Child Counts School and Little Darlings Academy in Marsh Harbour, Abaco, as well as continued work on residential homes.
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. Since our return to Marsh Harbour, we’ve contributed to the completion of Central Abaco Primary School (the biggest public school on the island), Every Child Counts (ECC) and are continuing the rebuild of Little Darlings Academy.
Alongside our work in schools, our teams continue to work on a variety of needs for residential homes. We continue to engage in response work including mucking and gutting, debris removal, and mold sanitation. Additionally, as roof repair continues to be one of the highest needs for residents on Abaco, we’re running our Resilient Roof Repair & Rebuild Program to support these needs in 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.
We’re incredibly pleased to announce that Every Child Counts School (ECC) is now complete, and the team celebrated the official handover at the end of June! With the many challenges we’ve faced in The Bahamas, the completion of ECC is a huge milestone for our programs and is a demonstration of the significant impact we’ve made since the restart of our volunteer-powered operations last fall. Thanks to everyone who has supported the work at ECC; it’s now a beautiful, resilient school ready for students and staff to safely return to in the coming months!
With ECC complete, and only a few months left before we wrap up The Bahamas Hurricane Relief Program, the focus is now on completing Little Darlings Academy (LDA) and continuing to repair and rebuild as many resilient roofs as possible. At LDA, the first stage of grading is complete, the slab for building A has been poured and blockwork for the walls is progressing quickly!
The team has also been busy closing down our base at Dundas Town since we have merged the two teams and are running operations from our Marsh Harbour base to maximize efficiency in these final months.
One of the roofs that the team recently completed in Marsh Harbour was for Doranell. The scope of work for this particular roof included reinforcing the roof structure with hurricane clips, installing underlayment and fitting standing seam metal roofing. This is what Doranell had to say to the team of three who worked on her home:
“I just wanted to say a heartfelt thank you to [Ashanta], Mike and Kieran. I have gotten so much compliments on my roof that it brought me to tears. God bless all of you.”