By RIEL MAJOR
Tribune Staff Reporter
NON-PROFIT organisations such as the World Central Kitchen, Samaritan’s Purse and the Bahamas Red Cross have all pitched in to bring relief to evacuees impacted by Hurricane Dorian.
Nate Mook, executive director of World Central Kitchen which prepares and delivers fresh cooked meals after disasters, said a 25-member team plus volunteers have fed thousands of victims.
Mr Mook said: “We have about 25 team members based in the Bahamas and plus hundreds of local volunteers supporting the efforts. To date we have prepared and delivered 160,000 fresh meals across three of the islands: New Providence, Abaco and Grand Bahama. We expect to surpass 200,000 fresh meals served by tomorrow (Friday) as we expect to produce about 30,000 meals today in total. We have full time kitchens operational on Grand Bahama in Freeport and here in Nassau at Atlantis.
“We also have a full-time team based on Abaco in Marsh Harbour and that team has been there since immediately after the storm had passed the team had arrived to be setting up there. We currently have three full time helicopters to make those deliveries as we are producing out of Nassau to get food to Abaco.”
He added: “We expect to have a fourth helicopter up and running by tomorrow, weather permitting, we all know the storm is brewing. Currently delivering with assistance of partners on the ground with 22 locations on Abaco that includes Treasure Cay, Cooper’s Town, we are also delivering to isolated communities with our helicopter including some Haitian communities. With these helicopters, we have been able to support with 14 evacuations to date and that number changes every day.”
The NGO was founded in 2010 by Spanish celebrity chef, Jose Andres.
Mr Mook said to date, approximately one million pounds of food and supplies were brought in by the World Central Kitchen.
He said the NGO is working to procure as much local food as it can.
The group is also ensuring communities cut off from contact are getting the food they need.
“We also have an amphibious vehicle that allows us to deliver to places that were isolated or cut off, washed out or bridges are out. In Grand Bahama, we are working closely with Minister Sands, Minister Pintard, members of the Senate and the local community to make sure that food is reaching communities in need.
“In Grand Bahama, our team has been to High Rock and continuing to push east to try to get meals further and we are hoping today to reach some of the communities that are harder to hit. I expect that operation in Grand Bahama will alone to produce 20,000 meals today and working closely with the local community.”
He added: “In Nassau we have been feeding the evacuee shelters including the large shelter here at Kendal G L Isaacs Gym and many of the other smaller shelters- this includes lunch and dinner. We also have set up a food truck that has been producing breakfast for evacuees at Kendal Isaacs.”
In Grand Bahama, international group Samaritan’s Purse has set up a mobile tent hospital. The island’s public hospital was damaged by flooding during the hurricane.
The NGO’s vice president Ken Isaacs said the tent hospital has seen more than 232 patients in the past two days.
Mr Isaacs said: “There are still serious injuries out there, trauma injuries from the storm itself that are coming into us and we have seen a lot of chronic diseases.
“We’re working closely with the Ministry of Health on this and I want to recognise Dr Duane Sands for being very helpful.”
Bahamas Red Cross President Terez Curry said the charity now has 90 tons of aid in the Bahamas.
She said: “Hundreds of volunteers have donated their time and talents to help people in need. Red Cross volunteers have delivered medical care to evacuees arriving at Odyssey Airport. We are sorting and distributing relief supplies and food parcels.
“Individuals and corporations have been given financial donations to help us fulfil our mission of alleviating human suffering. These donations have come from all over the Bahamas and all around the world. Our teams hope to reconnect people separated by the storm with six successful cases of families reconnected so far.”
She said BRC is giving out food vouchers to storm victims and trained psychologists and nurses are providing health support to evacuees who have experience trauma.
BRC has opened a psychological support centre from 9am to 5pm for people impacted by the storm.