Vincentians in the Bahamas, with support from the international SSVP, are responding to the needs of those affected with basic food supplies and necessities.
With winds of around 300 km/hr, Hurricane Dorian hit the Bahamas, particularly the islands of Abaco and Grand Bahama, destroying everything in its path. The number of people missing is currently around 2,500, although it is hoped that many of these will be found in the evacuation centres. But with these figures, the fear is that the number of fatalities is significantly higher than the 50 deaths officially recorded so far.
The SSVP’s Council General International, through CIAD (International Commission for Aid and Development), has approved an emergency plan for aid in the face of this natural disaster, with an initial transfer of money, while waiting for local reports about the assistance which Bahaman Vincentians can provide on the ground.
Our institution has 9 Conferences in the Bahamas, seven in Nassau (the capital) and two in Freeport. Vincentians themselves have also been affected by the terrible destruction caused by the hurricane, and have suffered serious damage to their homes, but this has not prevented them from coming to the aid of those most affected, distributing basic food and other supplies needed.
The Territorial Vice-President for America 1, Michael J. Nizankiewicz, had arranged to travel to the Bahamas to attend the General Assembly gathering the members in this country, which was to be held on 27 September, the feast day of Saint Vincent. Obviously, this assembly has been called off given the circumstances, but our Territorial Vice-President is still planning to meet our fellow members in the Bahamas, and together with them, work out a plan for the aid which the SSVP can offer.
Renato Lima de Oliveira, our President General International, expressed his concern and that of the SSVP as a whole, saying: “We join in solidarity with the Vincentians and those affected in the Bahamas, offering them not only material resources, but also, and more especially, our spiritual support and prayers.”