Guyanese family from hurricane-ravaged Bahamas returns home today

File: Aftermath of Hurricane Dorian in The Bahamas

A five-member Guyanese family is expected to return home today from the hurricane-ravaged Bahamas.

Director of the Civil Defence Commission (CDC), Kester Craig told Inews on Saturday that officials from the Social Protection and Public Health Ministries will be at the Cheddi Jagan International Airport to offer health assistance and care to the affected persons.

He was unable to say the ages of the family members but explained that other affected persons in The Bahamas have signalled their intent in coming to Guyana.

In some instances, he said the CDC in collaboration with the Government will be funding the tickets, while some persons, on the other hand, are able to handle their own expenses.

Acting Director General, Civil Defence Commission, Lieutenant-Colonel Kester Craig

On September 1, Hurricane Dorian, a Category 5 hurricane, ripped through the small Caribbean island with winds near 240 kilometres per hour (150 miles per hour), the US National Hurricane Center said.

While dozens have been confirmed dead, over 1300 persons are still missing.

Meanwhile, United Nations Secretary General António Guterres travelled to The Bahamas on Friday to show solidarity with the country’s people and Government in the wake of Hurricane Dorian. He highlighted the impact on Small Island Developing States (SIDS) of devastating climate events and appealed for international recovery aid and climate change action.

“I want to express my very deep appreciation for the very quick and effective response that the Government was able to mobilise and coordinate and for the impressive support of so many entities in the international community expressing their solidarity with the people of The Bahamas and in particular from other Caribbean islands, namely other islands that have been themselves, victims of similar situations in the past,” Guterres said during a joint press encounter with the Prime Minister of The Bahamas, Hubert Minnis.

In some areas, more than three-quarters of all buildings have been destroyed.  Hospitals are either in ruins, or overwhelmed. Schools turned into rubble. Thousands of people will continue to need help with food, water and shelter. Many more are facing an uncertain future after losing everything.

“In our new era of climate crisis, hurricanes and storms are turbo-charged. They happen with greater intensity and frequency – a direct result of warmer oceans… Without urgent action, climate disruption is only going to get worse. July 2019 was the hottest month ever. The period from 2015 to 2019 is on track to be the hottest five years since records began. Every week brings news of climate-related devastation,” Guterres added.

The BBC reported that Dorian was the most powerful storm to hit The Bahamas since records began. It brought ferocious winds and massive amounts of water to both areas, which are in the north of the Bahamas archipelago. Grand Bahama, with a population of about 50,000, is only 100km (60 miles) east of West Palm Beach in Florida.

Aftermath of Hurricane Dorian in The Bahamas

Even as the Government and people of The Bahamas are left to pick up the pieces following Hurricane Dorian’s arrival and departure, another storm hit the island on Saturday.

Meanwhile, a Guyana Bank for Trade and Industry (GBTI) account has been set up here for persons to make contributions towards assisting persons in the Bahamas.

Persons desirous of contributing financial donations are asked to make those contributions to the account name: GBTI Hurricane Relief Fund – Bahamas with the account # 011802963011.

Bahamians are now facing severe health threats as they are trying to cope with the lack of access to toilets, clean water and medications.

The stagnant waters have paved the way for mosquitoes to breed, giving room for diseases such as dengue, chikungunya and Zika.