Northern Bahamas ravaged by ‘disaster of epic proportions’ as UN releases $1 million in emergency funds

US Coast Guard Air Station Clearwater, Florida, responds to the devastation in the aftermath of Hurricane Dorian in the Bahamas. (2 September 2019)

This article is brought to you in association with the United Nations.


Following the “terrible devastation” of parts of the northern Bahamas in the Caribbean caused by Hurricane Dorian,  Secretary-General António Guterres has said he “remains deeply concerned” for those thousands impacted by the giant storm. The UN’s relief chief, Mark Lowcock, travelled to the island nation on Wednesday, to meet Government leaders and help expedite a life-saving aid operation.

The UN chief said in a statement that he was especially concerned “for the tens of thousands of people affected in Grand Bahamas and Abaco. He offers his condolences to the families of those who lost their lives in the disaster and wishes a speedy recovery to those injured.”

Mr. Guterres said the UN was supporting the ongoing Government-led rescue and relief efforts and was contributing assessment teams to join others deploying to the affected areas.

“People who have lost everything urgently need shelter, safe drinking water, food and medicine” he added, calling on donors to provide emergency funding for the humanitarian response and recovery efforts, “as soon as the requirements are known.”

Rescuers have now begun to reach the worst hit parts of the archipelago, which consists of around 700 islands stretching across more than 100,000 square miles of ocean, after Dorian made landfall at the weekend as a Category 5 hurricane.

Aerial images show a major level of destruction on the ground, and the official death toll of eight, is expected to rise. The hurricane remained over the north-west Bahamas for one and a half days, before weakening and moving away towards the coast of Florida. As of Wednesday afternoon local time, it was moving north bearing towards Georgia and the Carolinas.

Unprecedented disaster ‘of epic proportions’ says Lowcock on the ground

The UN relief chief who heads up the Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), Mark Lowcock, travelled to the Bahamas on Wednesday to help assess what is needed from the international community, and express the United Nations’ solidarity with the people and national leaders.

Listen below to our exclusive UN News interview with Mr. Lowcock speaking via Skype from the Bahamas.

Speaking to reporters at UN Headquarters in New York, down the line from the Bahamas late on Wednesday, Mr. Lowcock said that the damage was on an “enormous scale” causing “vast devastation” and leaving around 70,000 in need of life-saving aid on the two islands of Grand Bahama and Abaco.

He said access was “still very limited” to the islands for the rescue and humanitarian relief effort, and noted the scale of the disaster was unprecedented, for what is, essentially, a prosperous country.

Much of the response was being paid for by the Government, he said, but given the scale of the disaster, it was appropriate for the international community to respond to the country’s request for assistance.

Following further aerial surveys tomorrow and more data collection “hopefully, very soon after that, we will be able to get teams on the ground” he said, adding that he had told the Bahamian Prime Minister that he would release $1 million “immediately, from the Central Emergency Response Fund, to deal with exactly the set of priorities that he has identified”.

“It’s very unusual, for 20 per cent of the population of a country to be very severely impacted by a single event like this…The Bahamas has certainly never seen anything on the scale”, he said, adding that the most comparable recent disaster was the near total destruction of the Caribbean island of Dominica, by Hurricane Maria, in 2017.

“It’s true that the numbers of people, given the overall scale of emergencies we deal with around the world is not as big as in some other places, but a disaster of such epic proportions on a single country in a single incident is very very unsual.”

the sting Milestone

Featured Stings

Can we feed everyone without unleashing disaster? Read on

These campaigners want to give a quarter of the UK back to nature

How to build a more resilient and inclusive global system

Stopping antimicrobial resistance would cost just USD 2 per person a year

UN chief urges ‘active, substantive and meaningful participation’ on International Day of Democracy

How curiosity and globalization are driving a new approach to travel

Energy Union: EU invests a further €800 million in priority energy infrastructure

Sweden must urgently implement reforms to boost fight against foreign bribery

Can Eurozone’s uncertain growth answer the challenges that lie ahead?

These rules could save humanity from the threat of rogue AI

Next six months crucial for the EU, says von der Leyen at the start of the German Presidency of the Council of the EU

Promoting ‘a healthy sustainable future’, the UN health agency engages young and young at heart to ‘Walk the Talk’

MEPs call for safety and liability rules for driverless cars

Trust and support of Iraqis essential for success of UN’s Da’esh terror investigation

93 million children with disabilities ‘among the most likely to be left behind’: UN rights chief

Donor countries set international standard for preventing sexual exploitation, abuse, and harassment in development sector

This tiny new grain could save the planet

Medicine and mental health: relax, the doctor is a lifelong learner

The fatal consequences of troika’s blind austerity policy

Amsterdam is developing a fleet of autonomous boats to reduce city traffic

We have a space debris problem. Here’s how to solve it

Commission disburses €17 billion under SURE to Italy, Spain and Poland

How cultural understanding can help in the cultural shock

Wednesday’s Daily Brief: Diplomacy for Peace Day, #VaccinesWork, the cost of war on Afghans, tech and well-being

EU tax haven blacklist not catching worst offenders

Investing in health workers yields ‘triple dividend’, WHO chief says in New Year’s message

EP President calls for emergency assistance to migrants stranded on Open Arms boat

Georgia: EU report highlights the need for political compromise to continue the reform momentum

The Indian case: health policies need to keep pace with public health literacy

What brands get wrong about China – and how to put it right

Italy solves the enigma of growth with fiscal consolidation: The Banking Union

‘Revved up climate action’ needed to counter ‘prolonged’ and deadly storms like Cyclone Idai: Guterres

Nordic companies prove doing good is good for the bottom line

Libya: Thousands seek shelter in health clinics from Tripoli fighting, UN warns

EU-Turkey relations: EU considers imposing sanctions while Turkey keeps violating Cyprus’ sovereignty

At last a good price for the Greek debt!

Obese people more likely to smoke, says new gene research: WHO

OECD presents analysis showing significant impact of proposed international tax reforms

European Parliament the most trusted EU institution

New Zealand will have a new ‘well-being budget,’ says Jacinda Ardern

EU plans to exploit the Mediterranean Sea and the wealth beneath it

Children of ISIL terrorists likely held in ‘secret detention facilities’, UN human rights office warns

Migration crisis update: What are the chances of a fair deal at this EU Summit?

ITU Telecom World 2018 takes place in Durban, South Africa

EU–Canada Summit: strengthening the rules-based international order

State aid: Commission approves Luxembourg guarantee measure to further support economy in coronavirus outbreak

Connected Claims returns to London in 2018

Sexual education in a school at the Brazilian Amazon

Europe’s Beating Cancer Plan: A new EU approach to prevention, treatment and care

ITU Telecom World 2016: it’s all about working together

How the finance industry can save the world

New EU rules to boost crowdfunding platforms and protect investors

ECB offers plenty and cheap liquidity to support growth in all Eurozone countries

Working together to end the AIDS-HIV pandemic

Superconductors: the miracle materials powering an energy revolution

More women than ever are working in Hollywood, but men still dominate key roles

The art of care goes beyond borders: one has to understand the individual as a whole

Guinea President Alpha Condé: “We must tackle the root causes of migration”

Connectivity and collaboration in the ICT industry: the key to socio-economic development

EU to present a “hefty” exit bill to the UK moments before Brexit negotiations

European Commission welcomes the positive assessment about how it has managed the EU budget

As inequality grows, the UN fights for a fairer world

It will take a lot more than free menstrual pads to end period poverty

UN chief announces progress on committee to shape Syria’s political future

More Stings?

Advertising

Speak your Mind Here

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s