The Barbados-based Caribbean Tourism Organization (CTO) on Tuesday expressed deepest regret, sadness and “full support” over the loss of life and damage done to the Abacos and Grand Bahama Island by the category 5 hurricane, Dorian.
“In the wake of this monstrous storm, we have witnessed the pain of those who lost loved ones, the agony of so many who lost their homes and all their belongings, and the angst of an entire Caribbean concerned for the welfare of the people of these islands,” said the CTO in a statement.
“However, as has been demonstrated so many times in the past, we have weathered many storms, we are a resilient people who refuse to surrender even in the most difficult of times, and we are confident that the people of the Abaco Islands and Grand Bahama, with the full support of the Islands of the Bahamas and the Caribbean tourism family, will navigate the road to recovery together and emerge stronger,” it added.
With the Bahamas being an archipelago, with more than 700 islands and cays spread over 100,000 square miles, the CTO noted that the greatest impact of Hurricane Dorian was being felt in the northernmost islands of the Abacos and Grand Bahama, “while most of the nation has been mostly unaffected.”
The CTO said it has activated its Hurricane Relief Fund, “which has been established to help our people and countries rebuild after disasters.”
The United States Coast Guard said on Tuesday that it had dispatched seven helicopters to the Bahamas to help with rescue efforts.
But Rear Adm. Todd Sokalzuk said the continued severe weather was making it extremely difficult to reach the hardest-hit islands.
“Based on the devastation we have seen in the Abacos, we think it will be probably be worse in Grand Bahama,” he said. “Because the storm sat there for so long, there is probably increased damage. There are potentially more people that need assistance.”
Meteorologists at the National Hurricane Center in Miami said at least five people were killed by Hurricane Dorian, which ravaged the northern islands for over two days with inexorable rain and wind.