Sep 6 · 4 min read
Hurricane Dorian devastated the northern Bahamian island Abaco, making landfall on September 1 as a Category 5 storm. / Scott Olson, Getty Images

On Sunday, Hurricane Dorian made landfall on the Bahamas as the strongest storm to ever hit the country, and the second strongest Atlantic storm on record. The Category 5 storm produced sustained winds of 180 mph, along with torrential rains and storm surges that submerged the Bahamian islands of Abaco and Grand Bahama.

Dorian cut a path across the Bahamas and lingered for days before heading for the U.S. / USAID

Here are 4 ways that USAID is helping communities in the Bahamas affected by Hurricane Dorian:

1. Deploying a USAID Disaster Team

Members of the USAID Disaster Assistance Response Team (DART) meet several times a day to coordinate ongoing disaster activities, including field assessments and programming. / Alison Harding, USAID/OFDA

On Monday, USAID deployed a Disaster Assistance Response Team (DART) to the Bahamas to coordinate U.S. response efforts, conduct damage assessments, identify priority needs, and work closely with local authorities and humanitarian organizations to provide assistance to people in need.

This elite team currently comprises 32 USAID disaster experts, including logisticians and experts in emergency shelter.

2. Sending Search and Rescue Teams

USAID deployed a search and rescue team from Fairfax, Virginia to be part of its DART in the Bahamas. The team is conducting aerial assessments and supporting search and rescue operations in hard-hit areas. / Fairfax County Fire and Rescue, USAID

On Wednesday, 57 search-and-rescue experts and four dogs from Fairfax County Fire and Rescue deployed to the Bahamas to join the USAID DART. The team deployed with 50,000 pounds of medical equipment and specialized tools — including inflatable boats, life vests, water rescue equipment, listening devices, and search cameras. The team is working with Bahamian authorities on search and rescue operations, and assessing buildings and infrastructure for damage.

3. Providing Relief Supplies by Air & by Sea

USAID airlifted 47 metric tons of relief supplies to the Bahamas on September 4 to be distributed to communities in need. / U.S. Embassy Nassau

After conducting assessments of damaged areas, the DART identified shelter, water, sanitation, and hygiene as critical priorities. On Wednesday, USAID airlifted 47 metric tons of critical relief supplies from its emergency warehouse in Miami to the Bahamas, including:

450 rolls of heavy-duty plastic sheeting to meet urgent shelter needs

2,400 buckets and water containers to provide safe drinking water

600 hygiene kits to help prevent the spread of disease

4 kits to help remove debris, including chainsaws, axes, and other tools

Today, five U.S. Coast Guard ships arrived in the Bahamas with 250 rolls of USAID plastic sheeting to provide emergency shelter for affected communities.

USAID plastic sheeting is loaded onto a U.S. Coast Guard boat. / U.S. Coast Guard

Altogether, the relief supplies provided by USAID will help an estimated 44,000 people impacted by the hurricane. Our DART on the ground is coordinating with the Bahamas’s National Emergency Management Agency to distribute the relief items to people who need them.

4. Working with Humanitarian Partners

USAID partner Bahamas Red Cross distributes USAID-funded relief supplies. / International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies

To date, USAID has provided more than $1.8 million in humanitarian assistance to help people affected by Hurricane Dorian in the Bahamas. This includes funding to the Bahamas Red Cross to provide household items to people who have lost everything.

The Bahamas Red Cross is distributing USAID-funded hygiene kits, portable stoves, towels, sheets, and blankets to affected communities. Additional distributions will be taking place in coming days.

The United States stands by everyone affected by this disaster, and will continue our work to save lives, alleviate suffering, and help people recover.

Read more about USAID’s humanitarian response to Hurricane Dorian. For ways to help people affected by the disaster, visit USAID’s Center for International Disaster Information.

Follow USAID/OFDA on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

U.S. Agency for International Development

Stories of USAID’s Work from Around the World


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USAID's Office of U.S. Foreign Disaster Assistance saves lives on behalf of the American people.

U.S. Agency for International Development

Stories of USAID’s Work from Around the World

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