Hurricane Dorian Relief, Next Steps
It has been just over 100 days since Hurricane Dorian made landfall in the Bahamas island chain. The islands are just now returning to a semblance of normalcy. I just returned from Freeport, Grand Bahama island, after spending a day traveling throughout the devastated parts of the island.
It was my first visit to the properties of our members affected by the heavy winds and massive flooding caused by Hurricane Dorian. Since a major part of the airport is still shutdown, I took the three-and-half hour ferry to the island.
The members are overjoyed and very thankful for all the support and help given to them and their families. The generous donations from so many people via Good Works has made it possible for them to pick up the pieces. They have stressed to me the importance of thanking all who prayed during the most powerful hurricane to ever hit the Bahamas. The food, water, and supplies arrived just before our members reserves were used. This was Phase 1 of the relief effort.
As of now, Phase 2 is well underway and almost completed. Most brethren have been able to restore their homes back to proper living conditions. This week, we have workers finishing up the home of Cynthia Williams, a longtime deaconess and a widow in Freeport. Her home flooded; at one point, the water was above her knees. She lost most of her furniture and possessions, and the assistance is enabling her to repair her home and replace the most crucial items.
All the supplies, equipment, and tarps have been delivered by shipping containers to the island. Our members have been distributing and delivering supplies to various houses and making repairs for the last 45 days. The homes of a couple of members still need repairs; their homes are scheduled for completion by the middle of January. All of our members are safe and dry.
We are now focusing on neighbors of our members who are in need. We will begin to implement Phase 3 next month as we turn our efforts toward the community of East End, the most devastated part of Grand Bahama Island. We will be assisting the elderly, the disabled, and the children in the areas most affected by Dorian. The brethren have contacted residents in this community that has been no ravaged by the hurricane.
On a side note, the Freeport congregation meets for Sabbath services in the home of Mark and Wendy Mackey. Their home is located less than a mile from the beach. Amazingly, they had very little damage, and services were held the very next Sabbath after the hurricane hit the island. God is good and greatly to be praised!
It is a blessing to help so many who are in need. Through God’s continued blessings and the selfless service of our members on Grand Bahama, our United Church of God congregation is definitely a beacon of light during a very dark time for many on the island.
On behalf of the Bahamian brethren, I once again thank you for making this possible. The love and generosity shown has been very touching and just amazing. We thank God and ask Him to richly bless you all.