U.S. Congress donates $7.5 million to assist Samaritan’s Purse medical team

MAJOR DONATION – The United States Agency for International Development (USAID) along with the United States Congress donated $7.5 million in an effort to support the Samaritan’s Purse medical team, their medical provisions and other recovery efforts in Grand Bahama. Pictured during the presentation were Sen. Katherine Forbes-Smith (second left, second row); USAID Administrator, Mark Green (second right, second row); Miami Dade County Congresswoman Fredericka Wilson (right, second row); South Florida District Congress Member, Debbie Wasserman-Schultz (forefront) and Congressman Mario Diaz-Balart (left), representative for the R-FL 25th District.

The United States Agency for International Development (USAID) along with the United States Congress donated $7.5 million to support the Samaritan’s Purse medical team, their medical provisions and other recovery efforts in Grand Bahama. 

A team of Samaritan’s Purse medical personnel were in Grand Bahama immediately after the all clear was given, following Hurricane Dorian’s landfall September 1 to 3. The team’s arrival was in response to the local health care facility, the Rand Memorial Hospital, having major damages as a result of flooding due to storm surge.

Tuesday, October 1, representatives from the USAID and the U.S. Congress travelled to Grand Bahama, where they made the financial assistance presentation outside the tents on East Atlantic Drive, where the staff of Samaritan’s Purse set up to provide medical services to residents. 

USAID Administrator, Mark Green said that the $7.5 million donation brings the U.S. Government’s total funding for the response of Hurricane Dorian to more than $33 million.

“Today, I am happy to announce that the United States has provided $7.5 million in additional humanitarian assistance to help the people in the Commonwealth of The Bahamas.

“This brings the US Government’s total funding for the response of Hurricane Dorian to more than $33 million,” Green reiterated.

Noting that this is his second trip to The Bahamas, Green expressed his appreciation for the recovery work that has taken place so far.

“During this trip we have continued to see the resilient spirit of the Bahamian people and their hardworking government. The Bahamian Government, charitable organizations and the private sector worked to address the acute humanitarian needs of those affected by the strongest storm ever to hit The Bahamas.

“You will note with the group that is here is a bipartisan of all government efforts with Republicans and Democrats, administration, members of Congress, Florida, New York, Wisconsin, we are all united in our support for our neighbours in The Bahamas,” Green noted. 

He added that the majority of the additional funding will provide vital support to their humanitarian partner, the Samaritan’s Purse, for this field hospital in support of the Rand Memorial Hospital. 

In addition to contributing to meeting the most immediate humanitarian needs, Green said, the funding of Samaritan’s Purse will also pay for the removal of debris to help people get back into their homes, emergency and transitional shelters for families whose homes Hurricane Dorian damaged or destroyed in Grand Bahama and Abaco. 

“Also, it is for repairs for water, sanitation and hygiene infrastructure and the provision of emergency water supplies in communities that were most effected by the storm,” said Green.

Commending Americans for the outpouring of compassion shown residents affected by the storm, Green noted, “When crisis strikes, especially in our neighborhood, Americans will stand with our friends because that’s who we are as Americans. We care very deeply about our neighbours in The Bahamas, and we will continue to stand with them and assist them in their time of difficulty. 

“We know this is a difficult and challenging time for the people of The Bahamas. Clearly there is a long and still difficult journey ahead, but we also know that the future is bright. We look at the resilience of the people and the strength of the leadership here and we know that bright days are ahead,” Green concluded. 

South Florida District Congress Member, Debbie Wasserman-Schultz highlighted the close bond America and The Bahamas share. 

“There are times in South Florida you don’t know where the Bahamian community ends and where the Americans begin. We are in and out of one another’s communities every single day and so, ensuring that we were here to provide support before, during and after the storm and that we would be here long after the storm, goes from page one to page 30. 

“I am here, joined by my colleagues. We brought a congressional delegation one month to the day after Hurricane Dorian devastated The Bahamas because particularly in South Florida, we know and stand in solidarity with our sisters and brothers in this region of the impacts from a devastated storm like Dorian,” Wasserman-Schultz said. 

“Dorian was unique into and of itself because of how it hung over Grand Bahama for a mind-boggling amount of time. So, there is really nowhere in the world have we seen a storm that has impacted a country like Dorian has and we wanted to make sure that we were here to demonstrate our support and our affection and show the Bahamian people, our extended family particularly in South Florida which is how we think of one another.” 

Wasserman-Schultz disclosed that the $7.5 million is policed by the administration in consultation with the legislative branch, and she is of the surety, there will be a continuation of resources provided to The Bahamas. 

Miami Dade County Congresswoman Fredericka Wilson, who is the first Bahamian woman to be elected to the United States Congress, was excited to be a part of the donation and tour, particularly as there were several hurricane evacuees in her district.

“I have 11 people living with me now from Abaco. I want to say to the American people and to everyone that is helping The Bahamas, thank you for helping the displaced persons who migrated to Miami. 

“My team and I are working feverishly to nourish Bahamians and bring them back home to The Bahamas. 

“All of the community has wrapped their arms around them. We have birthed babies; my office gets a call almost every day about a situation for people to find work, people to find housing, some kind of way. The Prime Minister Dr. Hubert A. Minnis has indicated to us that he wants all Bahamians back home and we are working to help him meet that goal, to make them whole, bring them back, build up Abaco and build up Freeport,” said Wasserman-Schultz. 

Representing The Bahamas Government and bringing remarks on behalf of Prime Minister Dr. Hubert A. Minnis, Senator Katherine Forbes-Smith thanked the U.S. delegation for their partnership. 

“On behalf of the prime minister and the Cabinet Ministers, who would’ve been here today, but Tuesday is Cabinet day and they are making very important decisions on behalf of the Bahamian people as it relates to Dorian. 

“What you see here today is such a great partnership with the United States and all of its agencies in helping us move forward. 

“The Coast Guards, U.S. Aid, Samaritan’s Purse, International Mercy Corps … I mean we have had so many international organizations come to our aid here in Grand Bahama and we are appreciative of it,” Sen. Forbes-Smith expressed. 

“They have done a tremendous job, and I know that the prime minister and the Bahamian people are thankful and we certainly are, because what they have done has been extraordinary. I want to put a plug in for the U.S. Coast Guard, because they really have been working with the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) team. we are proud of them and proud to have them with us. They have done a tremendous job along with everybody else. 

“We are extremely pleased to continue to accept the support and help from the United States,” added Sen. Forbes-Smith.

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