The New York State Assembly Haitian Caucus said on Monday that Speaker Carl Heastie will join them in assisting in relief efforts for those impacted by Hurricane Dorian in the Bahamas, as well as those devastated by the Category 5 hurricane in the eastern coast of the United States.
“The Assembly Majority is committed to supporting those affected areas,” said Brooklyn Assembly Member Rodneyse Bichotte, a member of the Assembly Haitian Caucus that also comprises her colleagues, Michaelle Solages, Kimberly Jean-Pierre, Clyde Vanel, and Mathylde Frontus.
“The Assembly Majority will continue to work closely with the Consulate General of the Bahamas and the Bahamian American Association to address strategies needed to assist those communities impacted,” added Bichotte, who represents the 42nd Assembly District in Brooklyn. “Additionally, many Assembly Majority members’ offices will host relief drives across New York to help Bahamians affected by Hurricane Dorian.”
The Assembly Haitian Caucus said the road to recovery will be “difficult for all who have been affected by this devastating storm as Dorian has decimated these areas, particularly the islands of Grand Bahama and Abaco – a portion of the island heavily populated by Haitian immigrants.”
“Immediate assistance is greatly needed during this time, as thousands are without clean drinking water, food, shelter and dry clothing,” the statement said.
“This disaster hit close to home for us all,” said Bichotte, the first Haitian American from New York City to be elected to the State Assembly. “A community known as the ‘Mudd’ located on the island of Abaco was built over decades by thousands of Haitian immigrants in search of a better life.
“The residential environment has now been completely reduced to rumble by the storm, where many of its residents remain unaccounted for,” she added. “We play a vital role for this group of people – our voices strongly resonate for those who have been silenced.”
Solages said “suffering through natural disasters and dealing with the aftermath has become the norm for the Caribbean islands.”
“Here in New York, we stand with our Caribbean brothers and sisters, and are committed and have the resources to help after the devastation to the Bahamas from Hurricane Dorian,” she said.
Jean-Pierre said that, in the coming days and weeks, the Assembly Haitian Caucus “will continue to collect food, water and hygiene kits for the families of Bahamas.
“Devastation like this is not new to the Caribbean,” she said. “However, for many, the difficulty lies in the road ahead. We of the Haitian Caucus stand with all affected and will continue to show our support.”
Vanel said the most urgent need at the moment is for food and clean water.
“All help is welcomed, as we come together in solidarity to support an island in great need,” he said. “We are not looking at any one individual but rather a country left in destitution. It is estimated that over 70,000 people on the island are in need of sustenance.”
Frontus said that “as extreme weather continues to have disastrous effects throughout the world, it has become more and more important to band together to help those most affected.
“I am proud that we are taking action to support our Bahamian neighbors by partnering with Speaker Heastie to provide relief to the areas hit hardest by this latest storm,” she said.
Heastie said he was “grateful and proud that the Assembly Majority never hesitates to help those in need, and we are confident in the resiliency of our brothers and sisters in the Caribbean.
“The people of the Bahamas will undoubtedly face many challenges ahead, but New Yorkers are always ready to lend a helping hand,” he said.
Bichotte said her Brooklyn office is collecting donations of canned goods and bottled water during the month of September: Monday – Friday 9:30 a.m. to 5 p.m.; 1312 Flatbush Ave. (between Foster Avenue & East 26th Street).