Sept. 1 2019, Category 5 Hurricane Dorian struck Grand Abaco and Grand Bahama, The Bahamas, and remained stationary over the islands for nearly two days, pounding the islands with 180+ MPH winds, heavy rain, and storm surge. This was classified as one of the most impactful and damaging storms in modern history. Hurricane Dorian, paired with unprepared infrastructure, had a devastating affect on Abaco and its residents. Three days after the storm receded, OpenWorld Relief deployed its forward assessment team to begin search and rescue operations and determine the immediate needs of the island. To date we continue to serve in Abaco with one- to two-week to 10-day volunteer rotations. Our management staff remains to oversee our work and volunteers throughout the response, relief, and transition to recovery phases. Updates to our efforts and service in Abaco can be seen on social media (Facebook, Instagram, Twitter) and we will be issuing an Impact Report for each phase of our work in the islands.
Our core focuses for the response phase included:
- Search and rescue
- Damage and impact assessments
- Distribution of basic needs goods (potable water, basic sustenance, and basic first aid supplies)
Our current operations through the relief phase include:
- Water purification, collection, transport, and distribution (utilizing solar generators, powering reverse osmosis pumps, field tests, 1000-gal. water bladders, and a rotating schedule)
- Supply distribution: assistance with Points of Distribution (organization, storage, transport, and delivery)
- Critical infrastructure repair: utilizing mechanic and subject matter expert personnel to bring critical resources back online to serve the island and its residents (fire, EMS, power, and general rebuilding)
Our future transition plan includes the continuation of support of critical resources of the impacted communities and working with the Bahamian Chamber of Commerce and applicable Ministry heads to provide access to our network of resilient rebuilding and infrastructure providers in order to comply with the United Nations “Building Back Better” methodology.