Hurricane Dorian anniversary: Thousands supported during a global pandemic and in the midst of hurricane

One year after Hurricane Dorian devastated communities in the Bahamas, the Red Cross has assisted thousands of families with emergency relief, financial assistance and support for long-term recovery.

Hurricane Dorian made landfall in the Bahamas on 1 September 2019 as a destructive category 5 storm. It caused extensive flooding and damage across the Abaco Islands and Grand Bahama.

Rundell Fowler is a resident of Grand Bahama. Her roof was ripped off during the hurricane.  Through the Red Cross Home Repair program, she received financial assistance, which allowed her to pay for repairs and strengthen her home in case of future storms.

“It was a great help and we’re in hurricane season again, so I am very grateful,” she said

After Hurricane Dorian, Joel Hepburn said, his home was so destroyed that he wasn’t sure he would be able to stay on Abaco Island, a place he had lived his whole life. But with financial support from the Red Cross he has been able to buy the materials he needs to fix up his house and stay.

Volunteers and staff with the Bahamas Red Cross have supported communities since before the storm. They worked in shelters, delivered emergency aid including more than $11 million USD in emergency financial assistance to more than 3,000 families, supported recovery rental assistance and housing repair programs, and help families prepare for the current hurricane season, which has already pushed 14 storms through the Caribbean.

“As we continue to help people in the Bahamas recover and rebuild after Hurricane Dorian, we are doing so while keeping the next hurricane in mind. If communities build back stronger and more resilient it can reduce the impact of extreme weather events,” said Baylar Talibov, Hurricane Dorian Operations Manager for the International Federation of Red Cross and Crescent.

This important work continues while operating within the tremendously complex situation created by COVID-19, that limited the movement of volunteers and in-person access to communities on affected islands. The COVID-19 pandemic directly impacted vulnerable families recovering from Hurricane Dorian. Throughout this difficult time, the Red Cross continues to support people in their recovery process while helping those impacted by COVID-19. Bahamas Red Cross and partners continue to support ongoing recovery interventions including rental assistance, home repair assistance, small business grants, psychosocial support, and community engagement.

“We know the road to recovery is long, and the Red Cross is here for the journey. We were in communities to support vulnerable people before, and we are there now and into the future. It is very important to recognize the dedication of Red Cross staff and volunteers in the Bahamas as they continue to support others in these difficult times,” said Ariel Kestens, IFRC Head of Country Cluster for the English- and Dutch-Speaking Caribbean.