With 70,000 people left homeless on Grand Bahama and the Abaco Islands, help is on the way as disaster relief pours into the Bahamas after Hurricane Dorian idled over the island nation, leaving utter devastation in its wake.
The massive, crawling category 5 typhoon was the second strongest on record in the Atlantic Ocean and stalled over the Bahamas for more than 30 hours, bringing flooding storm surges and winds strong enough to tear roofs from buildings.
Among the victims are 43 official deaths with many more likely. Observers at the scene have told the Bahamas Press that more than 3,000 local residents may ultimately be confirmed dead. Thousands of people remain stranded in their homes, waiting for aid.
One Bahamanian resident named Ramond A. King grieved:
“My island of Abaco, everything is gone. No banks, no stores, no nothing. Everything is gone, just bodies.”
The shocking horror of the extreme devastation in the Bahamas after Hurricane Dorian laid waste to the landscape has drawn worldwide support as people, both unknown and famous, react with kindness, mercy, and generosity.
National Basketball Association champion Michael Jordan, who owns the Charlotte Hornets pro team, based in Charlotte, North Carolina, stepped up to help those suffering from the humanitarian crisis by donating $1 million to relief organizations working in the Bahamas.
Jordan’s manager, Estee Portnoy, tweeted a statement on September 10 expressing his sympathy for the victims, as well as explaining his self-interest:
“I am devasted to see the destruction that Hurricane Dorian has brought to the Bahamas, where I own property and visit frequently. My heart goes out to everyone who is suffering and to those who have lost loved ones.”
The basketball icon promised to keep an eye on recovery efforts in the storm-stricken region:
“As the recovery and relief efforts continue, I will be tracking the situation closely and working to identify non-profit agencies where the funds will have the most impact.”
The cruise industry, which operates extensively in the Bahamas, has pledged millions of dollars in relief money to rebuild the popular tourist destination.
Norwegian Cruise Line and partner All Hands & Hearts are donating $2 million, which includes donations matched dollar for dollar. The cruise ship Norwegian Breakaway was scheduled to deliver supplies collected by its team members and the City of Miami to the Bahamas on September 5.
The Walt Disney Company and Disney Cruise Line have promised to give more than $1 million in cash to nonprofit relief agencies, food, and construction materials.
Royal Caribbean International has matched the Disney offer and is working with the Bahamian Government, its nonprofit partner, the Pan-American Development Foundation, several Bahamian charities, and the Bahamas Feeding Network. A company statement detailed the cruise line’s plans:
“We are loading all kinds of goods onto our ships – generators, water, cleaning supplies, clean sheets, towels, and more – for direct delivery to the Bahamas. The trained employee volunteers we call the GO Team are on their way to assist with relief efforts. And we’re taking special care of coworkers and their families who were affected by the storm.”
Royal Caribbean and Celebrity Cruises will also dispatch several ships to Freeport to provide thousands of meals for hurricane victims. The first vessel, the Royal Caribbean Empress of the Seas, made a brief diversion from its scheduled sailing and arrived on September 5. A Celebrity tweet read:
“In the wake of Dorian, we’re mobilizing our fleet to help those who need it. We’ll deliver +43k water bottles, 10k meals, generators, supplies & we’re just getting started.”
Carnival Cruise Line, Holland America Line, Princess Cruises, and six other cruise lines – all owned by the Carnival Foundation – also promised a $1 million disaster relief donation, to be matched by the Carnival corporate chairman and his wife with their Micky and Madeleine Arison Family Foundation.
Spanish chef José Andrés took a team to Nassau, the Bahamian capital city and has served thousands of meals to needy victims. Chef Andrés helped out after Hurricanes Maria (September 2017) and Florence (September 2018). He quickly arranged to have 2,000 sandwiches and more than 1,000 oranges flown in to the island of New Providence, with between 5,000-7,000 more sandwiches slated for delivery. The humanitarian said he would serve 10,000 meals to the people of Abaco – and more, if needed.
Hip-hop star Ludacris donated over $100,000 raised over Labor Day weekend at his annual LudaDay Weekend event.
Tyler Perry, American actor, playwright, filmmaker, and comedian, who was ranked by Forbes in 2011 as the highest-paid man in entertainment, earning $130 million between May 2010 and May 2011, used his personal seaplane, kept in Nassau, to make at least two flights to deliver water, sleeping bags, and toiletries to the regions impacted most by Dorian.
Rihanna is a singer, businesswoman, fashion designer, actress, and philanthropist from Barbados (a Caribbean island country), tweeted her compassionate support for residents of the Bahamas, indicating that her Clara Lionel Foundation “is already figuring out how best we can help!”
Lenny Kravitz said his Let Love Rule Foundation would send boats laden with “basic needs, generators, chainsaws, flashlights, water, food, roofing materials, drop cloths,” while acknowledging that the ultimate goal is to “get the islands back on their feet.”
American pro basketball Sacramento Kings’ star Buddy Hield, who hails from the Bahamas, promised a personal donation amounting to $100,000 and started a GoFundMe campaign to “raise money for those who need so much.”
You don’t have to be famous to lend a helping hand to the victims of Hurricane Dorian. Charity Navigator lists reputable, highly-rated organizations providing aid and relief to the Bahamas.