By SANCHESKA DORSETT
Tribune Staff Reporter
TWO local charities have started efforts to provide relief to the southern islands left devastated by Hurricane Irma and are encouraging persons with “extra food or clothing items” to donate to those in need.
Gina Knowles, co-founder of the Head-Knowles Foundation, said her organisation, which put together widespread relief efforts following Hurricane Joaquin and Hurricane Matthew, has partnered with the Bahamas Red Cross to help those facing serious hardships, mainly in Ragged Island, Inagua and Acklins.
Mrs Knowles said the organisation is working to provide money for gas, mail boat services, private charters, underwear, hygiene kits, school supplies and other items to persons who need assistance.
“We are gearing up to be an immediate relief source which means we need cash to do this. We are directing all of our food, water and clothing to the Bahamas Red Cross,” Mrs Knowles said.
“There are tons of adults and children without clothes in Salina Point, Acklins and Ragged Island, just to begin with and as we get more information, we will let you know but we need all sized clothing please. We are also encouraging all those who bought extra hurricane stock for their own homes to donate those items they are not using. You can easily pack some of those up to show you are thankful that you didn’t need them. We have to think about what would have been the outcome if we were hit like Barbuda. Let’s be thankful.”
Red Cross Director General Caroline Turnquest said yesterday that the Red Cross has all the supplies they need “for now” but, she is awaiting the results of the government’s assessment to determine what the group’s next move is.
“The first thing we need is to get the information from the assessment to see which areas need us the most,” Ms Turnquest said.
“However, in the meantime we are packaging food and supplies just in case. Right now, as it stands we are covered because our focus is on the Family Islands, we took care of New Providence before the hurricane. So, our focus is now finding out where there is the greater need and we will channel our resources there.”
On Sunday, Chester Cooper, MP for Exuma and Ragged Island, told The Tribune Hurricane Irma left Duncan Town, Ragged Island in a state of “devastation.”
He said it was “mind blowing” to have seen photographs of the ruin on the island left behind by Irma, as he likened the situation to a horrific television scene.
Kwasi Thompson, State Minister for Grand Bahama, said on Sunday that about 100 people had been affected by tornadoes which touched down on the island, damaging homes and ripping off roofs. Officials in Bimini also reported that a tornado hit that island on Sunday, causing some damage to homes.
No serious injuries were reported.
Prime Minister Dr Hubert Minnis and a delegation toured affected islands in the south on Monday. The trip, which had been planned for Sunday had to be postponed because of heavy wind in New Providence from the passage of Hurricane Irma.