IOM Steps Up Response in the Bahamas After Hurricane Dorian Devastation

Posted: 
09/10/19
Themes: 
Humanitarian Emergencies, Internally Displaced Persons

Nassau – As search and rescue operations continue in Abaco and Grand Bahama, islands in the Bahamas devastated last week by Hurricane Dorian, the International Organization for Migration (IOM) is moving quickly to mobilise resources to assist rehabilitation efforts. Yesterday (09/09), IOM started the distribution of 1,000 tarpaulin coats in Marsh Harbour – the largest urban centre in Abaco.  The tarps will be used as a temporary fix for roofs torn by the violent Category 5 storm.

In places like Marsh Harbour, the devastation is particularly startling. Communities such as The Mudd and Pigeon Pea, where 70 per cent of informal housing in Abaco existed, and where an overwhelming majority of Haitian migrants resided, has been decimated.

"The Mudd is gone," said IOM's Brian Kelly, who is now leading the UN Disaster Assessment and Coordination Team in the area. “They [the Haitian migrants] are in a very tough situation, just as many of the Bahamians. A lot of people are facing very difficult circumstances and we're going to help out as much as we can."

On Sunday (08/09) IOM participated in an assessment mission to Abaco, along with representatives from UNICEF, UNDP and Mission of Hope. The team visited most of the emergency shelters on the island.

"According to official reports, approximately 76,000 people were affected by Dorian. Thousands of people have been evacuated from the affected areas; about 860 people are being housed in emergency shelters in Nassau.  The rest of the people remain in the affected areas," said Vynliz Dailey, the IOM officer in the assessment mission. "No electricity or running water is available, and parts of the affected communities, particularly in Abaco, are destroyed and are uninhabitable."

Jan-Willem Wegdam, IOM's emergency response coordinator, has met with the office of the Prime Minister and other government officials responsible for mass evacuation and emergency shelter, to coordinate the response to the affected population. 

"We are committed to using all resources made available to us to support the Government and people of Bahamas during this difficult time," declared Wegdam. "We have specialists and experts on the ground and on the way to ensure that we deliver the best possible service to those who need it the most in the shortest possible time. Even during the emergency phase, we are focused on medium- and long-term strategies that will contribute to the development of the islands."

Wegdam stated that IOM is preparing to roll out its Displacement Tracking Matrix (DTM) and support the coordination of emergency shelters and household repair solutions, among other responses. To this end, experts on Camp Coordination and Camp Management (CCCM), Migrants in Countries in Crises (MICIC) and DTM will be deployed this week to strengthen the team on the ground and to begin project implementation.

For more information please contact Jorge Gallo at the IOM Regional Office for Central America, North America and the Caribbean, Tel: +506 7203 6536, Email: jgallo@iom.int

  • "The Mudd is gone," says IOM's Brian Kelly, referring to a community at Marsh Harbour where most of the inhabitants were Haitian migrants.  Photo: IOM / Vynliz Dailey 

  • IOM has distributed 1,000 tarpaulin coats in Marsh Harbour – the largest urban centre in Abaco.  The tarps will be used as a temporary fix for roofs torn by the violent Category 5 storm. Photo: IOM / Brian Kelly 

  • On Sunday (08/09) IOM participated in an assessment mission to Abaco, along with representatives from UNICEF, UNDP, and Mission of Hope. Photo: IOM / Vynliz Dailey