Late Sunday, 1 September, Hurricane Dorian made landfall at the island nation of the Bahamas. Dorian is now the slowest-moving major hurricane ever observed, and The Grand Bahama Island would remain in the eye wall for nearly two days battered by Category 3-5 winds and rain. Video and images from the Bahamas show a toll of devastation on Great Abaco and Grand Bahama Island with vast areas still under water.
All YMCA employees have been accounted for; however, the death total for the islands is still unknown at this time. 70% of the Grand Bahama island was covered in water. The island is currently without power and and clean drinking water is scarce.
The local YMCA has been flooded badly damaging or destroying swimming facilities, fitness equipment, furniture, athletic fields, perimeter fencing, and more. Though the structure of the building is still standing, 75% of the roof is damaged.
YMCA of Grand Bahama General Secretary Karon Pinder-Johnson and her team will meet Friday 6 September at 9am local time to begin clean up and discuss a plan of action. They are assessing converting the basketball gym into a shelter for displaced families and allowing community members to drop-in, shower, and rest at the YMCA. They also anticipate they will have the capacity to accept in-kind donations such as canned food, water, clothes, first-aid kits, blankets, flashlights, batteries, etc. The government will allow entering the country duty-free within 30 days.
She expressed that despite the devastation, families are trying their best to bring normalcy back to their households.
We’ll send a follow-up communication and share more on their plan of action as it develops, but we urge YMCAs to continue praying for the people of the Bahamas and provide the moral and financial support necessary to deliver critical services to the affected communities during these difficult times. In the meantime, if you’d like to support YMCA of Grand Bahama, our friends at YMCA of the USA are collecting donations – donate here