By LEANDRA ROLLE
THE Bahamas Christian Council is willing to assist the government with the burial of unidentified Dorian victims.
Bishop Delton Fernander, BCC president, made the comment after a representative from the Disaster Reconstruction Authority told reporters that officials were in the process of identifying a date for a national service for those who died during Hurricane Dorian.
She also said that there would be no mass burial for the victims.
While noting that the BCC is "ready" to help as required, Bishop Fernander explained that certain matters will have to be finalised before a service can be carried out.
"(We have met) with the families that wanted to meet with us. We've met with the local government in Abaco. We've gone out to the sites. We've done all of our due diligence," he said.
"Our president on the ground in Grand Bahama, (has) personally been there… (but) some things we're not able to have charge of and until certain things are done, we can't rush out and have a service.
"But we have advised the government as it comes to any national service, we are ready, and we are willing as the church to be the church and to be on the ground."
He continued: "We made a promise in the meeting here in the Bahamas at the Bethel Baptist Church that I would do this. And so, at the promise, just seeing the grief and how traumatised people were, the council stepped in and we just do what the church does best - be there for the people."
After Hurricane Dorian ravaged Abaco and Grand Bahama in early September, officials initially reported over 2,000 people to be missing following Dorian's passing. Those numbers, however, have since dwindled in recent months with less than 60 people currently listed as missing in Abaco and Grand Bahama, according to Commissioner of Police Anthony Ferguson.
In January, the commissioner told a local daily that 54 people were reported as missing on the storm impacted islands. Meanwhile, the death toll of Dorian stands over 70. Officials have previously said that the death toll is expected to grow as crews continue to clean up debris from the affected islands.
However, asked by reporters yesterday if he thought the service would bring closure to the victims' families and the country at large, bishop Fernander said he hopes it will inspire more empathy within the hearts of Bahamians.
"I hope it does two things. I hope it causes us to pause for those of us who have moved on, to pause and feel what these families feel," he added. "The one thing that struck me is unless you've been through this, you have no idea the grief and you have no idea the pain.
"I've seen it not only in Grand Bahama but also in Abaco and every meeting I have, we go into our mode of counsel because it's just that difficult to bring closure when you have not seen the body or laid to rest the body of your loved one."