Express Editorial : Daily

Described as unprecedented and catastrophic, the destruction wrought by Hurricane Dorian on our Bahamian neighbours has thus far left five dead amid devastating scenes.

As the anomalous weather system hovered over the vulnerable islands for 18 hours, the category 5 Dorian hammered Abaco and Grand Bahama relentlessly, traumatising the population and leaving them in need of almost everything. As soon as the sky started to clear, Caricom was at the ready. Now it is up to generous citizens of the Caribbean to extend material supplies as well as warmth and emotional comfort to our brothers and sisters.

For the relief efforts that kicked off today, we encourage everyone to give generously but wisely, adhering to the list of emergency necessaries issued by the Commonwealth of the Bahamas’ Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Having sprung into action in the past to assist other northern Caribbean peoples affected by previous natural disasters, the public would be well aware of the various methods and venues for donations.

Donors are advised to keep updated with reports from the Bahamas whose Marsh Harbour airport has been flooded. The US Coast Guard is among the agencies at the ready for search-and-rescue missions and to distribute emergency supplies but can only do so when their aircraft are able to land on the runways. Immediate relief efforts should take this into account and donors should time their gifts of perishables so those supplies can be quickly distributed to the thousands in need rather than rot in containers at ports and airports.

Cash donations can be made at First Citizens bank into the Bahamas Relief Fund 261-555-9, according to Gerard Granado, General Secretary of the Caribbean Conference of Churches who has been liaising with Dr Monica Davis, Consul for the Bahamas in this country.

Treading walls of water reported by the US Coast Guard to be higher than 20 feet, Bahamians, who recently brought joy to their regional brothers and sisters during Carifesta XIV, must be fresh in the hearts and minds of the thousands with whom they interacted during their week-long stay here. Collective Caribbean sadness at their unfolding crisis is no doubt heightened by memories of the recent festivities.

Already Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley has pledged this country’s assistance, as have the prime ministers of Jamaica and Barbados, the latter having narrowly escaped a similar fate from the same monstrous weather system. Perhaps because of its close call, Barbados through Prime Minister Mia Mottley kept in close contact with the Bahamian authorities during the snail’s pace passage of Dorian and said she is ready to dispatch the Barbados Defence Force and Coast Guard to help. She thanked the Barbados Light & Power Company, which is already mobilising to send crews and equipment to the Bahamas to help restore power.

“We were fortunate enough to have been spared the wrath of Dorian, but we are no less touched by what has occurred in the Bahamas than if it had taken place right here in Barbados.”

Those words of PM Mottley express the sentiments of this newspaper as we too stand in solidarity with the Bahamian people. We urge our readers to do the same.