Bahamas relief efforts must be coordinated

| 04/09/2019 | 23 Comments
Cayman News Service
Dorian caused widespread flooding in the Bahamas

(CNS): While many people in the Cayman Islands are eager to help the people of the Bahamas as they deal with the fallout from Hurricane Dorian, the Cayman government is stressing that the best way to help is through an organised and coordinated official process and that, however well-intentioned, sending items may do more harm than help. Premier Alden McLaughlin said, “It is vital that relief efforts are coordinated effectively by the international community and major humanitarian NGOs. Providing financial support and ensuring regional partners have access to our equipment and other physical assets, should they require them, is the best way that we can support the people of the Bahamas at this time.”

Cayman Islands Governor Martyn Roper said, “I know that Caymanians feel a strong sense of empathy with the people who have been affected by Hurricane Dorian. As the Red Cross has pointed out, the collection of unsolicited goods by the public and organisations can harm relief efforts following disasters such as this. I would urge the public to provide assistance by providing funding to relief organisations like the Red Cross to enable appropriate and targeted assistance to be effective.”        

In a joint statement, Roper and McLaughlin said that Cayman assistance to Bahamas will be coordinated with regional partners and provided after needs are clarified now that the storm has passed. As reported Monday, Cayman has already offered air support from the RCIPS Air Operations Unit, although, they said, this may not be required as significant air support is now being provided by the US and UK authorities. 

“An offer of medical support, similar to that provided to Anguilla in 2017, is also being made and needs are being confirmed with the Caribbean Disaster Emergency Management Agency (CDEMA). Government will also consider offering a Cayman Airways relief flight to deliver necessary support,” the premier and governor said.

Opposition Leader Arden McLean said in a statement Tuesday that he had asked the premier to keep him apprised of what initiatives the government is taking to assist the Bahamas, and said that McLaughlin had his full support.

“Most certainly there is a need to help, and as soon as is practically possible we should mobilise our resources and offer that assistance,” McLean said. “I have asked members of the opposition to be prepared to assist in the local relief efforts, and we will coordinate with the government and our constituents to ensure that this happens as efficiently and effectively as possible.”

He also said, “We are deeply concerned for the safety and well-being of the Bahamian people and remain hopeful that while they have suffered terrible losses to their homes and businesses, that the loss of life and injuries will be less significant. Sadly however, reports coming to us indicate that there are a number of fatalities and injuries.

“This hurricane serves as a sobering reminder of our own experiences with Hurricane Ivan, and we know first-hand just how emotionally and physically damaging a storm of this magnitude can be.”

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Category: Caribbean, Commonwealth, Science & Nature, Weather, World News

Comments (23)

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  1. Chris Johnson says:

    Each of the Rotary clubs are already sending money to the Bahamas to their sister clubs. That way we know nothing will go astray. As the treasurer of the Rotary Club of Grand Cayman I am happy to assist everyone help in this sad situation. If I can further help please call me at 9460820 or email me at

    CNS: If Rotary would like us to do an article on their efforts, we will happily do so. Email

  2. Anonymous says:

    I was told by an MLA that Government will be arranging a support drive for the Bahamas; I hope they hurry. I forfeited a chance to send some donations via Sea Shepherd yesterday. As a poster said, Gov’t shouldn’t waste time “deciding who sits on what committee” and other red-tape processes for which it’s known!

    • Anonymous says:

      Do not, under any circumstances, let relief funds or supplies get in to the hands of either Government. If you require further information, ask the Office Of The Auditor General for a report on Ivan relief.

  3. Anonymous says:

    Bullshit. I do not expect Roper to know, but McLaughlin knows better.

    In the darkest days post Ivan, the food, water and necessities we got from outside were provided by generous individuals and private sector businesses. Formal organized relief through government agencies only started working afterwards – and even then couldn’t touch what the likes of DART and even some law firms were doing.

    The Sea Shepherd leaves today loaded with food, bottled water, and other needed supplies. They will be taking these goods right to where it is needed. People in dire need will be drinking that water while governments and others are still debating who should be on what committees.

    I know that if I and my neighbors had had to rely on government agencies for immediate relief post Ivan, some would have died of thirst. Anyone else remember the Royal Navy’s offer of (useless) blankets and water purification tablets, and refusal to assist with security?

    Government agencies can do their thing, but should get out of the way of the private sector and individuals who happen to be doing the right thing, and doing it quickly. The private sector and individuals are also not looking for political mileage and do what they do usually as an act of humanity. When did a politician last do that?

    • Anonymous says:

      I’m sorry, did you invoke the DART brand as saviors post-Ivan?!? Where were they after Ivan? Have you driven past the former Hyatt 15 years later? Please, they haven’t mustered anything honorable in last 15 yrs that wasn’t carefully calculated on a risk-reward table in their five or less Exec suite.

      • Anonymous says:

        Wow. You have no idea. Dart was in thousands of bottles of water you probably drank from, generators which could not have been delivered without them, and countless other quietly donated, arranged and provided benefits that helped save our skins. They did it quietly and without fanfare. But they did it.

        • Anonymous says:

          Have you driven past the former Hyatt 15 years later?

          • Anonymous says:

            Yes. It is amazing that the then owner of that hotel did not rebuild it after it was destroyed.

            By the way, DART was nothing to do with it when it was destroyed.

      • Rick says:

        You have no idea what you are talking about. I do not work for DART or benefit in any direct way. I work with the government but I know that DART did as much as anyone else and more than most. And they also took care of their own people, which included a lot of locals. Sounds like you have a personal beef.

    • Anonymous says:

      Proud to know children from Cleverfish raised funds and purchased supplies which they then loaded on the Sea Shepherd for the Bahamas.
      Thank you Cleverfish.

      • Anonymous says:

        Volunteer school children have provided more effective and immediate assistance than the so called experts in Cayman. Well done!

    • Anonymous says:

      Everynidy believes they are an expert and know best.

      Here is what the Red Cross, real experts, are saying on their website. And they agree with Government:

      The Cayman Islands Red Cross launched a monetary donation appeal to support the most vulnerable and this 411 sheet explains some frequently asked questions:
      Why money and not items? •
      Most items people want to send in the immediate aftermath of a disaster- clothing, shoes, toys- are not priority; • Unsolicited items create havoc on the ground as organisations do not know they are coming and then have to divert manpower and equipment to collect them and most don’t have where to store them; • Other items, like bottled water, are bulky and costly to send and only address the problem for a short period of time whereas the better solutions- like water purification systems- can address that problem for a longer period of time. That money would be better invested in those systems than to send the short solution; • The needs of the affected population change drastically as the response shifts from the emergency stage- funds allow organizations and the affected individuals themselves to better meet those changing needs; • The International Federation of the Red Cross (IFRC) has agreements in place to purchase items in bulk which translates your $1 donation into $7 on the ground; • The “honeymoon” period following a disaster is short and soon items will begin to incur government fees and storage fees and if organizations can’t afford to pay they forfeit the items.

      • Anonymous says:

        Live through a true life threatening emergency, suffer personally, and act to be part of the solution, and you will gain expertise enough that governments need to just get the hell out of the way in the first few days.

      • Anonymous says:

        Water purification systems do not work for sea water and sewerage! Experts like you are perfectly capable of causing deaths. Bottled water is needed there now! High protein calorific foods that require no preparation or refrigeration are needed there now! Transport to evacuate as many as possible from the area (particularly those not undertaking necessary labour) are needed there now! Your logistics and water purification systems have a place, but weeks from now. Low lying Caribbean Islands are not Kansas or Germany. Throw away your guides and text books written for those societies and do what needs to be done now!

  4. Anonymous says:

    Hurricane recovery 101

    First Send:
    Qualified first responders, evacuation aviation (when/where possible), clean water, clean fuel, anti-looter police, insurance adjusters, bulldozers, backhoes and electrical professionals and equipment.

    Building supplies (when possible to receive), vehicles, generators.

    Do not send:
    Dirty underpants, old shoes and your other wardrobe discards.

  5. Last Victim says:

    Beware of the local hurricane and trickster who keeps sending relief to his own pocket!

  6. Anonymous says:

    i’m going to chuck some paper towels over to them…

  7. Anonymous says:

    this reminds me of beggars on the street that turn away food/clothes because they just want cash….

  8. Anonymous says:

    maybe folks are not comfortable donating cash when only a tiny percentage actually goes to the people in need?

  9. Anonymous says:

    A supporting article that might be worth consideration in relation to best providing assistance in the aftermath of disasters:

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