US Coast Guard helicopters fly over Marsh Harbour on Sunday. (AP Photo/Fernando Llano)
THE “heroic efforts” of the United States Coast Guard and Customs and Border Protection saved more than 200 lives in the aftermath of Hurricane Dorian, according to a press release from the US Embassy in Nassau.
The press release added that hurricane relief efforts from the US continue with US Charge d’Affaires Stephanie Bowers, US Northern Command Commander General Terrence J O’Shaughnessy, and US Coast Guard District 7 Commander Rear Admiral Eric Jones, along with Bahamian officials recently conducting air assessments of affected areas to refine disaster relief needs.
Minister of National Security Marvin Dames and Royal Bahamas Defence Force Commodore Tellis Bethel accompanied them. The group also landed in Freeport, Grand Bahama to meet with the US Air Force’s team conducting an assessment of the Grand Bahama International Airport’s runway as part of a larger US government effort to help bring the airport’s operations back online.
Chargé Bowers reiterated that the US government is “working hand-in-hand in partnership with the Bahamian government”.
She also said: “We are communicating nearly every minute with different parts of the government under the leadership of Prime Minister Minnis, as well as the National Emergency Management Agency.” She also thanked General O’Shaughnessy for his invaluable support, and Admiral Jones for the tireless work of the US Coast Guard in relief efforts during the past week.
Following the aerial assessment, they discussed the most critical needs in the area and how to provide relief and assistance as swiftly and safely as possible. General O’Shaughnessy reaffirmed that US Northern Command, in support of USAID-led humanitarian response activities, will provide airlift and logistics. The US government is working diligently and at the highest levels with its Bahamian partners to provide relief and assistance to those in need in the northern Bahamas, according to a press release from the US Embassy in Nassau.
“This announcement is the latest example of the US commitment to helping the people of The Bahamas after this devastating storm. The efforts of US Northern Command are supplementing the multiple US government agencies providing immediate support to Hurricane Dorian relief efforts in The Bahamas. USAID, the lead agency for international disaster response, has a team of 89 people, including 57 search and rescue personnel, in addition to supplying more than 47 metric tons to help an estimated 44,000 people,” the embassy’s press release said.
“The heroic efforts of the US Coast Guard and CBP have saved over 200 lives. The United States, in support of its Bahamian partners, continues to help the populations affected by Hurricane Dorian.”
On September 8, USAID DART Virginia Task Force 1 Urban Search and Rescue teams conducted aerial and ground search & rescue operation in the hard-hit cays surrounding Abaco.
The team evacuated two survivors of Hurricane Dorian who were stranded on a remote island. During their missions, the teams also searched 156 houses for survivors and to determine whether the homes were safe to return to, according to the US Embassy.