By Kaelanne Jordan
A group of Third Wave Volunteers conducted a door-to-door, rapid-needs assessment, offered medical care, psychosocial support and coordinated the distribution of 80,000 pounds of supplies towards the Hurricane Dorian Bahamas relief.
Third Wave is among an ad hoc group of people and organisations from all over the world currently deployed in The Bahamas following the passage of Category 5 Hurricane Dorian, Sunday, September 1.
Third Wave volunteer and Director for Public Health Response Yvette Gonzalez told Catholic News logistics have been strained, but their local teams have made it possible to emerge with an adaptable system that gets donations to those in need.
Gonzalez said that the team of 11 volunteers (with more waiting to rotate in) was split with volunteers taking helicopters with supplies and others transporting supplies on two boats.
She said that their volunteers have been going “non-stop”, without pausing to eat at times.
Their efforts are in partnership with WEBB Banks—a premium wine and spirits distributor in the Caribbean and Central America—who have been “incredible” in getting them donations and funding.
She mentioned that the Sweetings Cay community, a small fishing village located on Grand Bahama island, has approximately 24 adults living there. “Everyone lost everything, so some organisations have provided food, water and generators,” she said.
The team was able to organise packets for each household and then create a community, shared-resources stock. Families received solar radios, solar lights, tarps, medical supplies, battery-operated fans, batteries, tools, flashlights and cleaning supplies.
Remaining non-food items needed include clothing, shoes, mosquito nets and repellant, tools, generators, fuel, cooking utensils, stoves, hygiene and feminine hygiene products. Gonzalez shared that long-term needs of Bahamians were psychosocial support, temporary shelters, communications, boats or boat repairs/parts and rebuilding support.
She thanked the Sweetings Cay community for welcoming them during this time and sharing their stories. “Their resilience and spirit were rattled, but they remain strong,” she said.
She also gave a “huge thank you” to Coral Vita, a coral reef restoration group, and Bahamian Luke Hopper for exceptional resource utilisation, an organised itinerary, and engaging the community, respecting their dignity, and conducting a calm and fair distribution.
“It takes a village and there are endless pieces to this effort, so we are touched by and grateful for it all,” she said.
Gonzalez added that the local community members, Coral Vita, and Third Wave worked to clear debris, trees, wires and heavy areas of road. Clearing up-turned mangroves allowed passage of vehicles to High Rock, Pelican Point and McLean’s Town, Grand Bahama. “All accessible now,” she said. “We are working on stabilising, and longer-term plans so communities can have a sustainable path forward.”
Thus far, the Third Wave Volunteers team has distributed “thousands” of solar lights to Bahamians and Haitians residing in Marsh Harbour—a town in Abaco Island, Bahamas.
In a photo sent to Catholic News, Dr Alison Thompson, Founder, Third Wave Volunteers asserted “I want you to know that your donations are actually getting straight to the people…”
Thompson said that she leaves Miami today, Thursday, September 12 and will return to The Bahamas on Monday with 10,000 solar lights.
HERE’S HOW YOU CAN HELP:
The Living Water Community (LWC) welcomes any financial contributions towards the cause. Any donations can be forwarded to LWC in the following ways (preferably but not limited to US dollars):
Living Water Community
RBC Royal Bank Ltd
19-21 Park Street, Port of Spain
Swift Code: RBTTTTPX
Account in the name of:
Living Water Community
109 Frederick Street, Port of Spain, Trinidad
Account #: 100018011234888 (USD transfers)
Account #: 100091110130007 (All other currencies)
Cash or cheque made payable to Living Water Community, 109 Frederick Street POS, envelope addressed to Rosemary Scott, Bahamas Relief