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Monday, September 9, 2019 — The extent of the damage and loss of life in The Bahamas, in the wake of Hurricane Dorian, has struck the core of leaders within the Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS) prompting quick decisions by the grouping to provide financial assistance to their island neighbours in the north.
The OECS Heads of Government took the decision that independent Member States would each make a contribution of USD 100,000 to The Bahamas given the sovereign control of their finances. It was also decided in the meeting of the Heads that the non-independent Member States would explore alternative modalities to support the recovery effort. The non-independent Member States are currently exploring those modalities to see what might be possible in terms of monetary and/or in-kind contributions.
In a video message to support the ‘Rise Again Bahamas’ Telethon held in Barbados, OECS Director General, Dr. Didacus Jules, highlighted the importance of ‘being our brothers’ keeper’.
“Dorian reminded us that our sisterhood is not just a common history and that our brotherhood bears the scars of the same vulnerabilities. We are all connected and as the Guyanese poet, Martin Carter, reminds us “we are all involved, we are all consumed.”
Today is a role call of family, a call to give not as charity but as the obligation of family.
Bahamas’ burden of pain is also our anguish, Bahamas’ loss is our impoverishment. Yesterday for Dominica, BVI, Barbuda and Anguilla, today for the Bahamas. And, sadly with the inevitability of climate change, tomorrow for any of the rest of us.
Yes, our thoughts and prayers go out to them but yes, too, our material assistance as an expression of our love and our bonds of family.”
Hurricane Dorian made landfall in The Bahamas as a Category 5 hurricane on Sunday, September 1, packing maximum sustained winds of 185 mph. It is the strongest Atlantic hurricane documented to directly impact a landmass since records began, tying it with the Labor Day Hurricane of 1935. The full extent of the damage is still unknown, and the death toll for the island nation continues to rise.
The Government of The Bahamas has released a preliminary list of immediate needs to assist residents. These include direct financial assistance, drinking water, water pumps, hygiene kits and tarpaulins.