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A Glimpse of Hope for Abaco Islands

Field Report by Dina Sleiman

BAHAMAS – Thanks to the support of faithful donors like you, Operation Blessing responded as soon as possible to help Hurricane Dorian victims in the Bahamas. Our team faced many travel obstacles following this tragedy that devastated the Bahamas and threw the country into chaos. But they persisted in their goal to reach the Abaco Islands with desperately needed aid.

Operation Blessing disaster relief staff travel by small boats to the Abaco Islands after Hurricane Dorian.

They managed to secure two small boats and loaded them with supplies. After a twelve hour trip on the open sea, they reached the decimated area of Marsh Harbor. The monster category five hurricane had stalled in this area, battering them relentlessly for two days.

Storm damage from Hurricane Dorian.

Previously, over 17,000 residents called the Abaco Islands home. It’s estimated that the storm destroyed 70% of the buildings. It also took out all infrastructure such as water systems and electricity. The official death toll currently stands in the 40s. However, officials expect it to rise dramatically as the search goes on.

OB’s Director of International Disaster Relief, Diego Traverso, said, “We’ll have diseases coming on because there’s trash all over the place, dead animals, even dead bodies all over the place.” Most relief efforts at this point have focused on evacuating thousands of victims, especially those with critical injuries, from the islands. And many still wait to be evacuated.

Hurricane Dorian evacuation.

Traverso called those remaining “the poorest of the poor.” Some might have to stay on the islands because they have no contacts in other parts of the Bahamas or the U.S. These have gathered in a few large groups to find help and shelter.

Once there, Operation Blessing staff worked tirelessly. Our doctor saw patients and provided first aid and medication to traumatized Bahamians. Our safe water team set up our first solar powered desalination system to give precious clean water to the gathered crowds.

And we handed out hundreds of solar lights to give a glimpse of hope during this dark time. Young children actually danced and played with their lights, finding simple joy in the fact that some relief had made it to them.

We will continue moving in more aid and providing assistance however we can. Traverso said, “We need your help. The Bahamas need your prayers.” At this time, we’re also beginning our outreach to the hard hit areas of North Carolina.

See all the latest on our Hurricane Dorian disaster relief efforts, including touching photos and videos. And please give a special disaster relief gift at this time!

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