November 25, 2019
CBF Disaster Response, in consultation with BWA Forum for Aid and Development (BFAD) partners, continues to work closely with CBF Bahamas and Florida to organize and implement an appropriate response to the devastation caused by Hurricane Dorian on Grand Bahama and North Abaco. The Category 5 hurricane resulted in at least 65 deaths in the Bahamas, with 282 missing and 70,000 left homeless.
Since the storm struck the northwestern Bahamas over September 1-2, viable shipping options have been evaluated with pallets of building materials, tools, equipment and generators having been delivered to facilitate initial recovery efforts among four CBF Bahamas church communities on Grand Bahama and another four located on North Abaco.
To coordinate the registration of volunteers and their efforts, CBF Disaster Response has recruited four part-time contractors. Melissa Rodriguez (Administrative Assistant for CBF of Florida) will assist teams with registration as well as handle the logistics of purchasing and shipping building materials from the US. In the Bahamas, John McIntosh and Christine Curry are coordinating recovery efforts on North Abaco with Johnette Bullard handling the same duties on Grand Bahama.
In preparation for future volunteer groups, two special assistance teams, led by Kenny Phillips (CBF of Florida Disaster Response Coordinator), have been organized. The first engaged on North Abaco during November, resulting in substantial repairs to the parsonage at New Hope Baptist Church, with another group preparing to travel in December.
Having resolved various logistical challenges related to purchasing and shipping building materials, and with suitable lodging options for volunteers in place, CBF Disaster Response is now ready to register volunteer teams for Dorian recovery efforts https://cbf.net/dr-bahamas.
With involvement to begin during the week of January 19-24, 2020, bi-monthly time slots for volunteer service on both North Abaco and Grand Bahama are being offered; specifically, the second and fourth weeks of most months of 2020. Specific times and locations of service are offered on a “first come, first serve” basis with teams requested to pay a non-refundable $500 registration fee to reserve their choices. The registration fee will be applied to the cost of materials needed for recovery efforts.
Teams are requested to schedule travel to the Bahamas on Sundays, allowing for four days of service (Monday – Thursday), returning on Friday.
Also, while two teams may serve during the same week on North Abaco, due to the current severity of damage and limited resources, currently only one team will be able to serve at a time on Grand Bahama. Initial Grand Bahama efforts will be focused on Sweeting Cay located on the far eastern end of the island.
In addition to the registration fee, teams are also requested to cover a $3,500 payment that will go toward the purchase and shipment of building materials to be used during their times of service. To ensure that materials are in place by the time of service, teams should register and pay the $3,500 installment at least five weeks prior to travel to the Bahamas. Larger teams of eight people or more are requested to contribute a higher payment to help guarantee an adequate amount of materials for their engagement.
As post-hurricane conditions on both North Abaco and Grand Bahama remain difficult, volunteer teams should be comprised of healthy, mature and adequately skilled individuals. In general, work will include roof repair, restoration of interiors and clean up.
For more information about volunteer service in the Bahamas, contact Rick Burnette, CBF Domestic Disaster Response Manager at firstname.lastname@example.org. Additionally, certified CBF post-disaster spiritual care providers interested in service in the Bahamas can contact Rachel Gunter Shapard at email@example.com.
I am an American Baptist retired pastor from CT and would like to coordinate a work team to come to the Bahamas at the 4th week of April or May. Is there a phone # of a person I could call to ask questions?
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