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Hurricane Dorian Relief and Recovery Fund

by GlobalGiving's Disaster Recovery Network
Hurricane Dorian Relief and Recovery Fund
Hurricane Dorian Relief and Recovery Fund
Hurricane Dorian Relief and Recovery Fund
Hurricane Dorian Relief and Recovery Fund
Hurricane Dorian Relief and Recovery Fund
Hurricane Dorian Relief and Recovery Fund
Hurricane Dorian Relief and Recovery Fund
Hurricane Dorian Relief and Recovery Fund
Hurricane Dorian Relief and Recovery Fund
Hurricane Dorian Relief and Recovery Fund
Hurricane Dorian Relief and Recovery Fund
Hurricane Dorian Relief and Recovery Fund
Lucas Metropolus, Founder of Lend a Hand Bahamas
Lucas Metropolus, Founder of Lend a Hand Bahamas

We recently caught up with Lucas Metropulos, founder of Lend a Hand Bahamas and Marine Education Initiative, formerly known as Fishing for Families in Need, our partners working on relief and recovery after Hurricane Dorian.  Here’s what he shared:

Q. What do you wish more people knew about how your community was impacted by this storm?

The devastation of Hurricane Dorian quickly dominated the news cycle around the world. Bahamian nonprofits and other NGOs began receiving thousands of gifts to support relief efforts; however, the Bahamas relief effort is slowly moving to the background. There is still a need for immediate relief items, but also longer term needs that will plague the Bahamas—primarily the islands of Grand Bahama and Abacofor years to come. It is my hope that supporters from abroad will continue to contribute to relief and rebuild efforts.  

I also would like to stress and encourage everyone to still be traveling to the Bahamas. Many individuals have canceled their plans to go to Nassau and other islands thinking that all of islands of the Bahamas were impacted by this storm, while it was predominantly only two islands. One of the best ways people can support the Bahamas right now is to take a trip to Nassau, Exuma, Bimini, Eleuthera, and other unaffected beautiful islands. 

Q. What makes you most proud about how Lend a Hand Bahamas and other local organizations are responding to Hurricane Dorian?

As a Bahamian nonprofit organization committed to community development in the Bahamas, we were working here before Hurricane Dorian and will be here long after. This has been our first time on a larger scale assisting with hurricane relief, and we have been working tirelessly to ensure that our support is transparent and reaches those who need it most as quickly as possible. There are many Bahamian organizations that have come forward in the wake of this disaster whether it was their expertise or not. These organizations have risen to the occasion and worked together to increase impact in affected areas and to support evacuees. I am especially proud of our team for their thoughtful approach and willingness to adapt our efforts. I have personally witnessed the impact our efforts have had on evacuees families in Nassau and in Grand Bahama and Abaco. 

Q. What are the greatest unmet, longer-term needs in your community?

We’ve received large deliveries of food and immediate relief supplies, but there is still a need for these items as the rebuilding and recovery process will long-term. Debris removal and building materials are of high necessity right now as well. In addition, there continues to be a strong need for mental health professionals, and opportunities for victims to receive counseling due to this immense trauma. Our organization, Lend a Hand Bahamas, is also taking a deeper focus on the need to enhance and sustain educational opportunities for children displaced as a result of the hurricane. We are encouraging donors to support our educational after-school programs for evacuee children launching soon in Nassau and larger educational initiatives to help support the influx of evacuee children in Nassau. 

Q. The storm put many folks in incredibly tough situations. What keeps you hopeful?

This is not the first devastating hurricane to make landfall in the Bahamas, but it has certainly been the strongest. The destruction is truly immense in Grand Bahama and Abaco. Thousands have been displaced, careers extinguished, lives lost, and the environment damaged. We have seen instance after instance of Bahamians coming together to offer relief and support. Bahamians are a resilient people who value community, and when one or two of their family islands are impacted, the whole of the islands come together to support each other. I have personally witnessed this over the past 12+ years of being involved in the Bahamas. Many of the families we have supported have a very positive attitude and are returning home to rebuild and work together to improve their situations. They are extremely thankful to others for support and are committed to not letting the devastation of Hurricane Dorian change their positive attitudes and desire to push on. 

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Photo from Fishing for Families in Need, Inc
Photo from Fishing for Families in Need, Inc

Two months after Hurricane Dorian barrelled its way through the Bahamas and onto the banks of North Carolina, thousands of affected individuals are still living in shelters, with thousands of more evacuees displaced around the islands and the U.S. mainland. The GlobalGiving community has matched the storm’s intensity with a strong resolve for recoveryboth immediate and long-term.

We are extremely grateful for you and our community of more than 15,000 donors from 97 different countries. Between those who donated to the Hurricane Dorian Relief Fund and those who donated directly to participating projects, you’ve contributed nearly $3 million in support of Hurricane Dorian relief! This week, we are disbursing grants to seven of our high-impact nonprofit partners who are working to address survivors’ needs in the aftermath of the most devastating storm to ever strike the Bahamas.

One of the greatest initial needs felt by victims was for basic supplies such as food, water, and health/hygiene items. Our partner Fishing for Families in Need, Inc. is addressing this issue, as well as stimulating the local market by purchasing all supplies from local vendors. They have already made deliveries to more than 2,000 individuals in Grand Bahama as well as to evacuees in Nassau. With additional funding, they will be working with Lend a Hand Bahamas, a local organization, to establish a long-term capacity to support impacted families.

Executive Director Nicholas C. Metropulos, shares their progress so far:

“We are truly inspired by the outpouring of generosity and we will be working tirelessly to further assist in this relief effort moving forward in these islands as well as with the thousands of evacuees currently in the capital city of Nassau. There is a long road ahead of us, but with your help, WE CAN make a substantial impact in the lives of thousands of Bahamians who have lost so much in the wake of this catastrophe.”

Additionally, our partner All Hands and Hearts has been hard at work ridding affected communities of debris, “mucking and gutting” homes and schools, and performing mold sanitation. During this time of recovery, they are serving up to 75 houses a month as well as working with local groups to clear and clean community spaces. In the following months, they will transition their work into making community structures more resilient.

Immediately following Dorian, first responders faced significant barriers in directing rescue and recovery efforts as a result of the lost communications and internet infrastructure. By installing and supporting internet connections, our partner NetHope, Inc. has enabled first responders to gather vital information on where the most crucial needs lie. With more funds we are issuing this week, NetHope, Inc. will be able to support connectivity to 41 sites, including clinics and other vital community service hubs, across the Bahamas for the next six months.

We are continuing to support our partners that are working tirelessly to offer continued support to the families and individuals that need it most. Thank you for being a part of the community of generous donors contributing to continued recovery and resilience-building.

Sincerely,

Donna + the GlobalGiving Team

Photo from Team Rubicon
Photo from Team Rubicon
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Photo: Fishing For Families In Need
Photo: Fishing For Families In Need

In the two and a half weeks since Hurricane Dorian parked itself over the Northwestern Islands of the Bahamas and then roared across the Outer Banks of North Carolina, the GlobalGiving community has responded with determination and generosity.

More than 10,000 donors from across the globe have contributed nearly $1.5 million to the GlobalGiving Hurricane Dorian Relief Fund and the dozen projects posted by our amazing nonprofit partners. 

The devastation on Grand Bahama and the Abaco Islands of the Bahamas has been catastrophic. Tens of thousands of families have been displaced and are in need of basic services, shelter, medical and psycho-social support. Many pets were left behind, and animal support professionals struggled to ensure the animals’ safety as shelters on the two islands were ravaged by the storm. 

“My island is devastated,” said Errol Thurston, a native of Abaco who was fortunate to be off-island during the storm. “At the end of the day, we have to help people rebuild a community and that's where the money is going to come in. Because there is nothing left.”

International and regional humanitarian organizations swiftly arrived to bolster the capabilities of the region’s limited nonprofit sector and emergency response infrastructure. These groups are working alongside local organizations and residents to provide crucial relief and life-saving assistance. As with many localized crises, members of the community have organized, mobilized, and altered their work plans to respond to neighbors in need.

Life-altering devastation also impacted Ocracoke Island on North Carolina’s Outer Banks where homes, clinics, marinas, and roads were floodedmany beyond repair.

We’re gratified to share that GlobalGiving began sending crucial emergency funds within five days of the Dorian strike on the Bahamas. As of this report, GlobalGiving has disbursed approximately $150,000, representing contributions made by donors to both our general Relief Fund and to our partners’ specific projects on GlobalGiving.org.

Here are several examples of how the GlobalGiving community is responding:

Bringing medical and health services to the most vulnerable - The psychological impact of a traumatic event often takes a disproportionate toll on the most vulnerable members of a community, including the elderly, those with chronic illnesses, and infants. We are grateful for the quick response of our friends at International Medical Corps, who are providing life-saving medical treatment as well as psycho-social support, both in the Bahamas and on Ocracoke Island. Working in coordination with International Medical Corps and a number of other first responders, Jake’s Diapers is ensuring that the tiniest among the survivors receive basic products for healthy living. 

Supplying fuel to first responders - Fuel Relief Fund fills a critical need in the immediate aftermath of disasters. Thanks to the generosity of donors who gave to the Dorian Relief Fund, Fuel Relief Fund was able to quickly provide much-needed fuel, powering first responders’ generators and vehicles and helping residents in remote areas. 

Getting Families’ Best Friends to Safety - A GlobalGiving community nonprofit since 2012, BAARK! Bahamas has raised more than $25,000 and received a grant from the GlobalGiving Hurricane Dorian Relief Fund to evacuate as well as to provide temporary shelter, fresh water, and food to animals impacted by the storm. With support from funds provided by GlobalGiving donors, as of last weekend, Baark! had successfully supported and relocated more than 100 dogs and cats and constructed a temporary shelter in Nassau.

Demonstrating all shapes and sizes of generosity - Donors of all types have responded quickly. Companies are matching employee donations, individuals are reaching into their pockets, and small businesses are hosting fundraisers. We have been heartened to see many survivors of 2017’s Hurricane Irma “pay it forward” to support this relief effort. Cruzan Rum’s Island Spirit Fund has supported Team Rubicon’s emergency response efforts in the hardest to reach locations in the Bahamas and begin the cleanup process and preparation for rebuilding affected communities. 

We are committed to ensuring your funds are put to work in the most impactful way possible and will be making additional distributions to our nonprofit partners during the next few weeks. Large or small, from £5 to $25,000, every contribution makes a difference. 

Photo: Fuel Relief Fund
Photo: Fuel Relief Fund
Photo: BAARK! Bahamas
Photo: BAARK! Bahamas
Photo: International Medical Corps
Photo: International Medical Corps
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Location: Washington, D.C. - USA
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$3,279,153 raised of $3,500,000 goal
 
16,646 donations
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