PM: We must work together to rebuild

The country must work together to rebuild in the wake of Hurricane Dorian,” Prime Minister Dr. Hubert Minnis told media in Grand Bahama on Saturday, September 7.

The prime minister hosted a press conference at the Emergency Operations Centre (EOC) in the Harold de Gregory Building, days after deadly Hurricane Dorian devastated Abaco and Grand Bahama, providing updates on the government’s post hurricane activities.The nation's chief commended representatives from the various government agencies and volunteers for their service,  during this difficult time. 

Thousands of residents in Abaco and Grand Bahama lost their lives, homes and the majority of their possessions due to severe flooding brought on by the storm’s powerful surges. 

The prime minister also acknowledged those residents, who can only be described as heroes, that assisted in the countless rescue missions. 

“Without your support, your confidence and the work that you have been doing, the number of deaths in not only in Grand Bahama but in Abaco would’ve been would have been much higher.  I want to thank you on behalf of The Bahamas for the excellent work,” said Dr. Minnis.

PM Minnis furthered that everyone knew the storm was coming, but no one expected one of this magnitude.

 “What I can say is that the entire international community is with us, they’ve been assisting us from day one,” he said.

He added that The Bahamas continues to get assistance from them, particularly the United States through organizations and individuals.

 The Walt Disney Company was expected to donate more than $1 million to relief and recovery efforts in The Bahamas.

A press statement from Burbank, Calif., on September 3 quoted, “The Walt Disney Company, led by Disney Cruise Line, has committed more than $1 million in cash and in-kind support to help relief and recovery efforts for those in The Bahamas affected by Hurricane Dorian.

Disney employees with immediate needs in impacted areas of The Bahamas will have access to a range of resources. Disney Castaway Cay, which experienced tropical force strength winds, employs more than 60 Bahamians from Abaco and Grand Bahama, as well as several employees from other Bahamian islands.”

Royal Caribbean is committing $1 million to Dorian disaster relief, and ITM and their partners in the Holistica joint venture that is developing the Grand Lucayan Resort in Freeport, is also donating an additional $100,000.

The World Central Kitchen sent a team led by chef José Andrés is already delivering meals to people on Abaco. The team sent thousands of meals to Abaco today via helicopter, with more on the way. 

The Ambassador of the People’s Republic of China to The Commonwealth of The Bahamas, His Excellency Huang Qinguo, on behalf of his country, presented Captain Stephen Russell, Director of the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) with $20,000 in goods for the victims of Hurricane Dorian at NEMA’s Headquarters today.

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said on Twitter that Canada stands ready to help the Bahamian people and communities affected by this disaster and has pledged $500,000 in initial emergency assistance.

The Royal Bank of Canada has announced an immediate donation of $75,000 USD to help kick-start local recovery and relief efforts on Abaco and Grand Bahama. The Royal Navy has also been assisting the islands. The Royal Navy Wildcat has been conducting further reconnaissance flights over the Bahamas to assess damage and provide important intelligence to the Bahamian government and the team of Department for International Development experts who have deployed to the region. The Red Cross authorised $500,000 for the first wave of disaster relief. 

Film Producer and Actor Tyler Perry reportedly used his private plane to deliver water, juice, diapers, sleeping bags and other necessities to Abaco. Perry also reportedly brought seven people, including children back to the U.S. on return trips who needed medical attention. 

As of 8:00 p.m. on September 3, US Coast Guard and US Customs and Border Protection have successfully airlifted 61 people from the Northern Bahamas to Nassau over two days, including three people from Freeport. People in Abaco and Freeport have welcomed them. The PM noted that special groups must be formed to ensure proper reporting of the items and funds being sent to the island towards relief efforts and that they are brought in as quickly as possible.  He also acknowledged reports that the government placed restrictions on the air base, regarding certain planes being allowed in the jurisdiction.

“We’re trying to limit it to humanitarian aid and those that are coming to assist.  There would’ve been a lot of negativity about us doing that, lots of individuals would have complained. But we did that because we felt that planes that were not necessarily for humanitarian aids and if we did not have complete control of the flight paths and flights coming in, we might have run into the possibilities of mid-air collisions,” he said.The prime minister furthered that every Caribbean country has offered monetary assistance and manpower. 

“We must work together so that we can rebuild our country and get back on the right footing,” he said. 

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