Wednesday, September 11th 2019, 5:27 pm - Sara Green started Project Direct Impact to help with relief for the Bahamas, where her father lives.
Hurricane Dorian is the most destructive storm to have ever hit the Bahamas, and while the relief aid is starting to reach the islands, an Ontario woman who was born in the Bahamas says that a lot more needs to be done.
On September 10 the official death toll reached 50, while tens of thousands of people remain homeless, and the United Nations states that 70,000 people in the Bahamas need immediate humanitarian relief.
Watching the storm unfold from her home in Canada "has been heartbreaking" for Sara Green, whose father lives on Grand Bahama Island. Losing contact with her father during the first few days of the storm motivated her to find a way to help. Green has started a project called Project Direct Impact, which will be funded through her GoFundMe. Green says that people's donations will allow her to purchase equipment and supplies that will be delivered by herself and her team.
Over the years Green has gone back and spent time in the Bahamas and says that "Bahamians have been through storms, they've been through hurricanes, and the thing with this was is that it just stopped and it stayed, and you can't prepare for that." She says that she has been struggling to make contact with several family members since Dorian made landfall and it will take years before life goes back to normal.
Green says that initially, her father tried to hide the truth about the extent of the destruction from her, but admitted that much of the island is "unrecognizable" when he felt like she was ready to hear the truth.
Sara Green and her father in the Bahamas.
Green says her father has been using a small boat to help with the rescue efforts where he can, but wouldn't go into too many details about what the search over the past few days has looked like. She said that, according to him, it mainly consisted of "pulling people and bodies out from the rubble."
After the storm passed, Green said the rescue efforts began immediately and everyone is trying to help each other. Jet skis and small boats are the main methods of transportation that people are using to search the debris for people that were swept away during the storm.
The need for relief is urgent and Project Direct Impact has a plan for her team to go directly to where help is needed the most.
Green says that the team will load supplies on a boat in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, and will then travel to Freeport, Bahamas where a team is ready to build kitchens and tents, and bring medical aid to people with urgent injuries. She says that the entire journey will be documented so that people who have donated will see the difference that they are making.
When asked what Canadians can do other than donate, Green says that sending positive thoughts and messages to Bahamians will help boost their spirits. "It will give them that mental health kick, because that is where people are really going to suffer long term."
"I think that Canadians are really positive people and they joke that we are too nice, so we need to use our niceness now. I've seen it and it has been proven to me during this time... I can see it in their eyes that they know it is time to help."
Green hopes that Project Direct Impact will keep the awareness for relief aid that is needed since it will take years for much of the Bahamas to rebuild.
HEAVY RAIN TO COME LATE-WEEK
While Dorian has now dissipated, a new disturbance is expected to bring locally significant rainfall in Grand Bahama, Abaco Islands, and the rest of the Bahamas on Thursday and Friday.
These areas were previously affected by Hurricane Dorian and the slow-moving nature of this new system will exacerbate recovery efforts as local rainfall amounts could exceed 50 to 75 mm.
Gusty winds are likely with this system, however, limited tropical development is expected through Friday. There is increased potential for development by the time the disturbance nears the Florida Straits and emerges in the eastern Gulf of Mexico by this weekend. Meteorologists will continue to monitor this situation closely.