On September 1st, Hurricane Dorian, a Category 5 storm made landfall in the Bahamas. The strongest hurricane on record in the Bahamas, Dorian brought powerful 225-mph winds and crushing storm surge of up to 23 ft., resulting in widespead devastation, injury, and death to residents on the northern islands. When the storm finally passed, the Fuel Relief Fund team made it's way to region, arriving on Great Abaco Island on Saturday, September 7th, 2019.
As is often the case, FRF was one of the very first responders on the ground, and despite being in the most hard-hit area, the team reported an eerie stillness upon arriving: There was no power, no businesses operating, and barely a search and rescue team in sight. For some of the team, the destruction on Abaco was like nothing they had ever witnessed – entire neighborhoods had been flatterened by the storm.
It was clear that fuel would become the most critical relief supply, so FRF got to work. Within the first few days, we had distributed over 2,000 gallons of gas and diesel to hundreds of disaster survivors, and numerous first responders and aid agencies. Relief efforts by the United Nations, Heart to Heart International, Team Rubicon, OpenWorld Relief, Help.NGO, Samaritans Purse, and two US-based search and recue teams were supported by FRF fuel donations. When the rest of the team and a ship carrying a larger load of fuel arrived later that week, FRF ramped up operations, bringing bladders and drums of fuel to locations across Great Abaco and sorrounding areas.
By the end of the first full week, 8425 gallons of fuel had been given away to power–among many other things–medical clinics, portable water treatment facilties, emergency operations centers, humanitarian basecamps, search and rescue equipment, and home generators for civilians. With the help of the Dutch Military, FRF was able to begin airlifting fuel drums to isolated outer islands where survivors had not recieved any other aid.
Today, September 18th, marks the 11th day of around-the-clock response operations by Fuel Relief Fund in the Bahamas. As we begin to wind down the mission and help the Bahamian Government's National Emergency Management Agency transition into the recovery phase, we are reminded of how lucky we are to have your support, and the support of so many people around the world. To date, donors have helped Fuel Relief Fund give over 15,000 gallons of free fuel to responders with 40 different agencies and to thousands of civilians who desperately needed it.
We cannot thank you enough, so we'll leave you with this message of gratitude from Darryl, a disaster survivor and resident of Great Abaco Island:
"Thank you from the people of Abaco. We love and appreciate you all at Fuel Relief Fund. You have been simply amazing and you have helped us save so many lives,...kept people going and given people hope."
Fuel Relief Fund