4 ways USAID is responding to Hurricane Dorian in the Bahamas

Hurricane Dorian made landfall on the Bahamas on September 1 as the strongest storm ever to hit the country, and the second-strongest Atlantic storm on record.

Here are four ways that the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) is helping communities in the Bahamas affected by Hurricane Dorian:

1. Deploying a USAID disaster team

USAID deployed a Disaster Assistance Response Team (DART) to the Bahamas on September 2 to coordinate U.S. response efforts, conduct damage assessments, identify priority needs and work closely with local authorities and humanitarian organizations to provide assistance to people in need.

This elite team currently comprises 32 USAID disaster experts, including logisticians and experts in emergency shelter.

2. Sending search and rescue teams

Rescue team walking on a tarmac toward an airplane (© Fairfax County Fire and Rescue)
USAID deployed a search and rescue team from Fairfax, Virginia. The team is conducting aerial assessments and supporting search and rescue operations in hard-hit areas. (© Fairfax County Fire and Rescue)

Fifty-seven search and rescue experts and four dogs from Fairfax County Fire and Rescue deployed on September 4 to the Bahamas to join the USAID Disaster Assistance Response Team. The team deployed with more than 22,000 kilograms of medical equipment and specialized tools — including inflatable boats, life vests, water rescue equipment, listening devices and search cameras. The team is working with Bahamian authorities on search and rescue operations. It is also assessing buildings and infrastructure for damage.

3. Providing relief supplies by air and by sea

USAID airlifted 47 metric tons of critical relief supplies on September 4 from its emergency warehouse in Miami to the Bahamas, including:

  • 450 rolls of heavy-duty plastic sheeting to meet urgent shelter needs.
  • 2,400 buckets and water containers to provide safe drinking water.
  • 600 hygiene kits to help prevent the spread of disease.
  • Four kits to help remove debris, including chainsaws, axes and other tools.

Five U.S. Coast Guard ships arrived in the Bahamas on September 6 with 250 rolls of USAID plastic sheeting to provide emergency shelter for affected communities.

Altogether, the relief supplies provided by USAID will help an estimated 44,000 people impacted by the hurricane.

Man working forklift to move relief supplies (Daniel Durazo/U.S. Embassy Nassau)
USAID airlifted 47 metric tons of relief supplies to the Bahamas on September 4 to be distributed to communities in need. (Daniel Durazo/U.S. Embassy Nassau)

4. Working with humanitarian partners

To date, USAID has provided more than $1.8 million in humanitarian assistance to help people affected by Hurricane Dorian in the Bahamas. This includes funding to the Bahamas Red Cross to provide household items to people who have lost everything.

The Bahamas Red Cross is distributing USAID-funded hygiene kits, portable stoves, towels, sheets and blankets to affected communities. Additional distributions will be taking place in coming days.

The United States stands by everyone affected by this disaster and will continue its work to save lives, alleviate suffering and help people recover.

A longer version of this story appears on USAID’s Medium blog.