Hurricane Dorian Relief

Echoes International Response

Update, 02/10/2019: The government has signed contracts for the beginning of a clear up of the sensitive areas around Marsh Harbour where there was the greatest loss of life.

Looting continues with Haitians returning in large numbers looking to re-establish themselves. The only major food store in Marsh Harbour is about to reopen but fears abound as hungry people without cash are looking for food. International voluntary groups are doing a marvellous job of seeking to help with food distribution and the provision of clothing.

It is reported that the return of power and water to the main affected areas will take about a year before these utilities come online as there has been a catastrophic loss in the distribution system from the islands main generator. Many are fearful to return to re-establish their businesses until these vital necessities are made available. The local chamber of commerce is eager to work independently in re-establishing Marsh Harbour but is finding bureaucratic red tape a problem in moving forward.

In East Grand Bahama recovery is equally slow. In one area where there are large storage tanks of crude oil the roofs of at least two of these storage facilities flew off in the storm sending showers of crude oil into the surrounding community, 12,000 barrels have been recovered so far.

The Samaritans Purse organization has established itself in both East Grand Bahama and in Marsh Harbour Abaco. From these highly organized centres they are reaching out very effectively to the surrounding Cays of Treasure Cay, Green Turtle Cay, Guana Cay, Man O War Cay and Hope Town on Elbow Cay.

The small Cay communities are hampered in reconstruction by the enormity of hurricane debris, sunken boats and lack of dockage. Plans are underway, via Samaritans Purse, to bring in industrial shredders and incinerators and clear these Cay communities in order for permanent reconstruction to commence on a large scale.

Please pray for the following needs:

  1. There is a desperate need for volunteer Carpenters, Block Layers, Electricians and Plumbers to spend a week or two to assist in the repair and rebuilding of homes, workplaces and church buildings.
  2. These Cays are planning on their own power plants in future and will need guidance and help with industrial scale generators and replacing the destroyed electrical infrastructure.
  3. The majority of homes, workplaces, workshops, boat yards and churches lost their entire contents of furnishings, tools and equipment. Homes will need to be totally refurnished, churches carpeted, and new seating found, workshops and boatyards re-equipped.

Update, 16/9/2019: Please continue to uphold those in the Abaco islands and Grand Bahama islands of The Bahamas in your prayers.  It is now two weeks since Hurricane Dorian swept through and devastated this area.  At the weekend, Tropical Storm Humberto (now reaching hurricane strength) passed over the Abacos  subjecting them to significant rainfall and delaying progress of relief work.  There are concerns regarding further storm activity in this area as this will significantly impede rescue, relief and recovery efforts.  September is historically the most active month for hurricanes, but the season is not officially over until the beginning of November.

Many have now left the islands for temporary housing in Nassau or with relatives on other islands and areas.  Decisions as to the future rebuilding of the islands affected is still to be decided and key utilities and infrastructure will take time to be restored.  As individuals and families reassess their situation and make decisions, it can be assumed that life in these islands will never be the same and as a consequence, the witness of assemblies in those areas.

Please pray also for Mission workers , Assemblies and full time Bahamian workers in the area as they have the responsibility of assessing need and distributing resources at this time.

Update, 11/9/2019: The government in The Bahamas has announced they want the main area of March Harbour evacuated within nine days because of health reasons. Reports of the number of dead is rising. Because the mail power plant for the island was destroyed, which also serves the Cays, it could be at least a year before basic utilities are available. Many people who have survived have evacuated to the capital or are trying to travel to the States or to other relatives. We have had news from the people of Marsh Harbour Gospel Chapel that nothing is left of their homes, business, Assembly or the Assembly School. Please continue to pray for the people of The Bahamas.

Echoes International have responded to the aftermath of Hurricane Dorian by sending an initial tranche of disaster funding and we are in discussion with Mark Lacey, a worker associated with Echoes International, who will assist in the delivery of relief on the ground.

As you are aware from the national news, the category 5 Hurricane Dorian hit The Bahamas ravaging two main island groups, The Abacos (17,000 people) and Grand Bahama (51,000 people) with winds reaching over 185 mph.

Unusually, this hurricane sustained its pummelling of the islands for at least 10 hours, obliterating much of housing stock and leaving a path of carnage. Added to this, parts of the Bahamas received up to 35 inches of rain, leaving vast areas flooded. One Christian man, 6 feet tall, said that the water was up to his neck for 3 hours in the highest part of his house! The full extent of the damage is still to be determined and officials say that the death toll is likely to be in the hundreds or more.

Our condolences and sympathy go out to all those who have lost family members and friends and those made homeless by this tragedy 

Currently the island of Great Abaco is virtually uninhabitable, with no water, power or food. A significant loss of life is anticipated in the main settlement Marsh Harbour (Abaco) due to the density of population and its low lying location. There is looting going on. Nearby, other smaller islands have lost their docks and harbours are strewn with wreckage making accessibility by water, and consequently arrival of support and aid, a significant challenge.

The only international airport in Grand Bahama was also devastated and as a result, it could not be used for evacuations or aid deliveries. The vulnerable are being airlifted to Nassau, the capital, but many are left distraught and in need.

The days ahead are critical to provide food, shelter and the basic needs to those who have lost everything and who have been unable to evacuate.

There are two assemblies on Grand Bahama and 8 on Abaco. At least two of these church buildings have gone and some believers have lost their lives.

Emergency Relief

Echoes International have the facility to send emergency relief. If you wish to contribute, you can by:

  • Making a donation via the donations page of our website here;
  • Sending cheques, payable to Echoes International, at 124 Wells Road, Bath, BA2 3AH – please mark your donation ‘Hurricane Dorian’;
  • Making a bank transfer direct to Echoes International – sort code 600205 – account number 63519194 – please mark your donation ‘Hurricane Dorian’; or
  • Calling Echoes on 03300 56 33 34 to make a donation via credit or debit card.

If you are able to make your donation under Gift Aid, then please complete this Gift Aid Form and send it to the above address.

In line with Echoes International’s current policy, 100% of your donation, together with any Gift Aid reclaimed, will be sent the Bahamas, to benefit those directly affected by Hurricane Dorian.

Our prayers are with all those affected by the tragedy caused by Hurricane Dorian.