NASSAU, Bahamas, September 4, 2019 (CMC) – Canada says it will provide CDN$500,000 in emergency assistance to The Bahamas, as the country comes to grip with the devastation caused by Hurricane Dorian.
Dorian, considered one of the most destructive storms in modern history, tore into the archipelago on Sunday, and today, Canadian Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau, spoke with Bahamian Prime Minister, Dr. Hubert Minnis, about the devastation in the Bahamas, caused by Hurricane Dorian.
“Canada stands ready to help the Bahamian people and communities affected by this disaster, and has pledged $500,000 in initial emergency assistance,” he said.
The Prime Minister expressed his sympathies for the loss of life, caused by Hurricane Dorian, particularly in the Abacos and Grand Bahama Island, and extended Canada’s support and solidarity for the people and communities devastated by the winds and flooding.
Trudeau underscored Canada’s longstanding friendship and ties to The Bahamas, and noted Canada’s ongoing commitment to building climate resilience and strengthening disaster response in the region.
He reiterated Canada’s offer of $500,000 in initial humanitarian assistance and expert support, and indicated that the government of Canada will remain in close contact, as needs assessments are developed.
Trudeau is one of many international figures, who have been commenting on the storm, with United States Senator, Marco Rubio, saying that he would ask the Tramp administration to consider waiving visa restrictions for Bahamians.
“Florida has deep ties to The Bahamas. Many Floridians have family living there. Today I will be asking the Trump Administration to consider suspending certain visa requirements for citizens of The Bahamas, displaced by Hurricane Dorian and with close relatives in the U.S,” he said in a message on his Twitter page.
United States President, Donald Trump, has also suggested he may visit, saying that he was still waiting to speak with Prime Minister Minnis by telephone.
“We’re waiting for a call – they’re having a lot of trouble with the telephones over there, as you can imagine – from the Prime Minister and we’re helping a lot. The Admiral just said we’re sending a lot of resources over there to help people, on a humanitarian basis. I would do that if we think it’s appropriate, I would stop there, yes,” he said.
At least seven people have been confirmed to have been killed by the storm, with the authorities warning that the death toll could rise as rescue teams reach areas that had been devastated by the hurricane.
The US Embassy in Nassau said that since Tuesday, the US Coast Guard (USCG) and US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) have successfully airlifted 61 people from the Northern Bahamas to Nassau, including three people from Freeport
It said that the US Coast Guard is continuing to be part of the search and rescue mission in Northern Bahamas, adding “there have been no reports of violence against USCG or CBP after Dorian”.
Meanwhile, Health Minister, Dr Duane Sands, said the government was airlifting 25 doctors, nurses and other health workers to Abaco and hoped to bring in mental health workers soon.
“The situation is under control in Abaco. In Grand Bahama, today will tell the magnitude of the problem,” he added.
A Royal Navy vessel has started delivering food supplies to residents of Great Abaco. The RFA Mounts Bay, a Landing Ship Dock, has provided more than 1,200 cases of water, 1,300 food ration packs and 500 shelter kits.
“The highly-skilled crew and specialist equipment of RFA Mounts Bay have been on call since June, to support our overseas territories and friends in the hurricane season,” said the United Kingdom’s Defence Secretary, Ben Wallace.
“Its Wildcat helicopter has begun conducting reconnaissance flights of The Bahamas to help assess the damage and the crew have begun distributing UK aid. My thoughts remain with those affected and our world-class military will continue to assist the Bahamas government to offer relief and aid to those who need it most,” he said.
UK International Development Secretary, Alok Sharma, said the images of devastation and destruction, across The Bahamas, are truly shocking.
“The clock is now ticking to get help to those in need, and I’m pleased that Mounts Bay has begun to deliver life-saving relief items to those in desperate need,” he said.
The commanding officer of RFA Mounts Bay, Captain Rob Anders, said, “RFA Mounts Bay has been working alongside the Bahamian National Emergency and Management Agency and US Coastguard personnel, using our Wildcat helicopter to conduct initial assessments on Abaco Island and we have landed reconnaissance troops ashore.
“I am pleased to be able to use our people and equipment to send water and food ashore to provide aid to the Bahamian people.”