By: Vernon Brewer
“Bodies are floating all through the water in Marsh Harbour.”
These are the words in an urgent text message I received recently.
Most news reports say the death toll of Hurricane Dorian’s impact in the Bahamas is around 45 people — but the heartbreaking truth is that it is likely to rise considerably as the search for missing people continues.
Some survivors may never find their missing loved ones.
Yet even as we mourn the loss of life and destruction left in the wake of Hurricane Dorian, we must guard against thinking we are past danger. Having spent nearly three decades responding to disasters like these, I have learned that our response in the aftermath of a disaster is critical for the survival of those who lived through the storm.
In the case of the Bahamas, tens of thousands of people currently are in survival mode — and they need our help.
Hurricane Dorian, which hit the Bahamas as a Category 5 storm and pummeled the archipelago with 200 miles-per-hour winds, caused a scale of destruction that is only now being revealed. An estimated seven out of 10 homes are or have been underwater, according to the Bahamas’ deputy prime minister.
In many cases, 40 to 50 people are hunkered down in one home where a roof still remains.
The storm not only swept away entire homes and cars but also destroyed power lines and roads, crippling the country’s infrastructure, causing billions of dollars’ worth of damage and leaving people stranded without access to food or water.
Already, the U.S. Coast Guard has rescued more than 130 people through helicopter evacuations; yet the scale of need is staggering. The United Nations says some 75,000 people need critical aid.
Desperation has turned to violence in the worst-affected areas as people scramble to find food and water.
Our organization, World Help, is one of several humanitarian groups responding to the disaster. We are working with local teams to provide food, generators, hygiene kits and, especially, clean water in some of the most devastated areas.
Even with the combined work of aid groups and emergency personnel, the humanitarian situation still calls for the help of everyone who is able to contribute to relief efforts.
We can and must help to make sure Hurricane Dorian’s death toll doesn’t continue to rise simply because people don’t have access to food and other necessities.
Please take a moment right now and pray for the victims of Hurricane Dorian as they face this great hour of need.
And please, give generously to help.