A ROYAL Navy vessel has delivered its first batch of aid to residents of Great Abaco.
Other aid has poured in as well, with the United Nations announcing yesterday an initial allocation of $1m for storm relief.
The RFA Mounts Bay, a Landing Ship Dock, has provided more than 1,200 cases of water, 1,300 food ration packs and 500 shelter kits.
A rigid-hulled inflatable boat was deployed yesterday afternoon with a relief team on board to join up with the Royal Bahamas Defence Force to unload aid for those who have been worst hit by Hurricane Dorian.
UK Defence Secretary Ben Wallace said: “The highly skilled crew and specialist equipment of RFA Mounts Bay have been on call since June to support our overseas territories and friends in the hurricane season.
“Its Wildcat helicopter has begun conducting reconnaissance flights of the Bahamas to help assess the damage and the crew have begun distributing UK aid. My thoughts remain with those affected and our world-class military will continue to assist the Bahamas Government to offer relief and aid to those who need it most.”
UK International Development Secretary Alok Sharma said: “The images of devastation and destruction across the Bahamas are truly shocking. The clock is now ticking to get help to those in need, and I’m pleased that Mounts Bay has begun to deliver life-saving relief items to those in desperate need.”
The commanding officer of RFA Mounts Bay, Captain Rob Anders, said: “RFA Mounts Bay has been working alongside the Bahamian National Emergency and Management Agency and US Coastguard personnel, using our Wildcat helicopter to conduct initial assessments on Abaco island and we have landed reconnaissance troops ashore.
“I am pleased to be able to use our people and equipment to send water and food ashore to provide aid to the Bahamian people.”
In a press release issued yesterday, the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) said it has deployed staff to support the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA), the Caribbean Disaster Emergency Management Agency (CDEMA) and to support the Bahamian people and government “as they begin the recovery from the devastating impact of the strongest hurricane in Bahamas’ history.”
The UN’s statement added: “Hurricane Dorian, a Category 5 storm, made landfall in (the) Bahamas on Sunday as one of the most powerful Atlantic storms on record — maximum sustained winds reached 185 mph with some gusts of up to 220. The full scale of the storm is not yet known since the island is still underwater prohibiting landing of flights and only initial aerial assessments are possible at this time.”
“We are deeply saddened by the loss of lives and the impact on people in the Bahamas. We will work to support their prompt recovery and strengthen their livelihoods and resilience,” said UN Assistant Secretary-General and UNDP Regional Director for Latin America and the Caribbean Luis Felipe López Calva.