Jewish groups provide emergency help to Bahamas after hurricane

Jewish groups mobilize to help, after at least 7 confirmed dead in Hurricane Dorian, with death toll expected to rise.

Marcy Oster, JTA,

Hurricane Dorian is viewed from the International Space Station
Hurricane Dorian is viewed from the International Space Station
Reuters

At least seven people are confirmed dead in the Bahamas’ Abaco Islands in the wake of Hurricane Dorian and the death toll is expected to rise.

“We are in the midst of a historic tragedy in parts of the northern Bahamas,” the Bahamas’ Prime Minister Hubert Minnis, said in a news conference on Tuesday.

He said the “devastation is unprecedented and extensive.”

The hurricane stalled over Grand Bahama Island for nearly two days, leaving whole neighborhoods, as well as airports and hospitals submerged. At least 13,000 homes have been damaged or destroyed on Abaco and Grand Bahama islands.

IsraAID, the Israel-based humanitarian aid agency that responds to emergency crises and engages in international development around the world, said in a Tuesday that it would send emergency support to the Bahamas.

Its Emergency Response team will distribute urgent relief supplies, offer psychological first aid, and deploy water filters to restore access to drinking water, while conducting further needs assessments in affected communities, the NGO said in a statement. In 2018, IsraAID Emergency Response teams reached 26,300 people with safe water, psychological and community support, and relief following nine disasters in seven countries. The group has opened an Emergency Response Fund, to pay for its work.

B’nai Brith International is accepting donations to its Disaster Relief Fund to assist those affected by Dorian. The money raised will go to assist local recovery and rebuilding teams, the group said in a statement.

Rabbi Sholom and Sheera Bluming, directors of Chabad of the Bahamas in Nassau, have been in touch with the Jewish community in Nassau, which was relatively unscathed by the hurricane, but have not been able to reach some of those living on Abaco, who still remain unaccounted for, according to Chabad.org.

The rabbi said that about 1,000 Jewish expats have made their home in the Bahamas, and that more than 100,000 Jews visit the islands each year.

The Blumings have joined in the official government relief effort, calling on the Jewish community to help, and is coordinating a shipment of supplies from South Florida, which will include food, drinking water and mosquito nets for Abaco.

As of Wednesday morning the hurricane, now a Category 2 storm, remained about 100 miles off Florida’s east coast, lashing it with wind and rain, and moving toward Georgia, with experts saying it could hit the coasts of South and North Carolina on Thursday and Friday. Storm surge warnings are in place up and down the coast.




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