Hurricane Dorian wreaked havoc on parts of the Bahamas over the weekend, killing at least 30 people and leaving a humanitarian crisis in its wake.
The hurricane reached Category 5 at one point, with peak winds of 185 mph, making it the most powerful storm on record to hit the islands. Thousands of homes and businesses have been destroyed, hospitals sustained damage and swaths of Grand Bahama Island were left largely impassable due to high water and wreckage.
“It’s total devastation. It’s decimated. Apocalyptic. It looks like a bomb went off,” Lia Head-Rigby, who helps run a local hurricane relief organization, told The Associated Press. “It’s not rebuilding something that was there; we have to start again.”
Here’s how you can help:
Donate Money To Reputable Organizations
Monetary aid can go a long way in disaster relief, especially for those far away and unable to volunteer or drop off supplies. Just be wary of crowdfunding links or organizations that seem suspicious. Some fraudulent sites may take advantage of a disaster situation to get people to send credit card information.
Several national and international organizations ― including the Salvation Army, SBP, Heart to Heart International and the International Medical Corps ― are soliciting donations to be funneled to Dorian relief efforts.
Chef and philanthropist José Andrés and his organization World Central Kitchen are organizing teams at four locations across the Bahamas to cook meals for those hurt by the storm. WCK accepts donations through its website.
Make Meaningful Supply Donations
During disaster situations, it’s key to determine what supplies are actually needed and where to donate them so organizations aren’t burdened with superfluous good.
The city of Miami is organizing a donation drive in conjunction with its fire department and local churches. The #BahamaStrong coalition is asking for donations of:
- Canned goods
- Can openers
- Mosquito spray
- Baby formula
- First-aid items
- Small generators
A list of drop-off locations can be found on the city’s website.
Florida state Rep. Shevrin Jones (D) is also getting the word out about a donation drive run by the Miami Dade Community Emergency Operations Center.
In addition to monetary aid, the Bahamas Red Cross is asking for donations of non-perishable goods, baby supplies, cleaning items and bedding.
Register To Volunteer
For those able to give their time, consider volunteering to help in relief efforts. Bahamas Red Cross is accepting volunteer applications, as is disaster relief organization All Hands and Hearts. As All Hands and Hearts notes on its website, relief organizations are still assessing the needs on the ground ― so don’t book airline tickets to the islands until you know where you’ll be needed.
The death toll in this story has been updated.