More than two weeks after Hurricane Dorian hit Grand Bahamas and the Abaco Islands, relief efforts are still in full swing, with a number of yachts making their way over to the devastated country daily with aid and supplies to help the thousands who have lost not only their homes, but their livelihoods.
With at least 50 people dead and the toll expected to rise as the days continue to pass by, it’s also estimated that up to 10,000 people from the Abaco Islands alone need food, water and temporary housing. Around 17% of the population was left homeless, according to Local 10 News reports.
Here’s how the yacht industry has rallied together to help those in need, and how you can help too:
YachtAid Launched Operation Topaz
In one of the most comprehensive disaster relief attempts in yachting history, YachtAid Global has brought together yachts from all over the world to help provide relief with Operation Topaz. M/Y Loon was first on the scene, bringing supplies to the Abacos, including Marsh Harbour, Elbow Cay and Green Turtle Bay, while crew helped to clear debris from roads and visited children in clinics armed with candy.
M/Y Axis’ Hat Trick
M/Y Axis has now made three trips back to the northern Bahamas since the hurricane hit, with Captain Les Annan and crew showing a fierce dedication to the cause. Bringing more supplies from Rybovich in West Palm Beach, a refrigerated shipping container which was to be used as a morgue was delivered to the dock on Monday, but couldn’t be loaded onto the yacht support. The team instead transported several Tesla PowerWalls to provide electrical power for a hospital on their third visit.
Dogs on Board
Hurricane Dorian has not only ruined the lives of many of the island’s inhabitants – it’s also left thousands of dogs stranded without shelter, food or water. Not content with dropping off around 30 tons of aid including food and medical kits, 73-metre superyacht Laurel has opened its tender garage door to around 50 of these stray dogs who have either been abandoned or lost, and is hoping that residents will step forward to adopt them.
“There are 50 rescue dogs from the Bahamas in Laurel’s tender garage right now. They have been through so much after Hurricane Dorian devastated the Bahamas, and as you would imagine, we are all taking every opportunity to love them as much as possible,” said photographer Shani Davies on her Facebook page.
“When you hear rescue or stray, it’s sometimes hard to picture them as loving, loyal pets – but TRUST me these dogs are the goodest boys and girls, we wish we could adopt all of them. If anyone reading this is interested in adopting them – they are going straight to an incredible rescue ranch Big Dog Ranch Rescue.”
The dogs have now been safely moved to the rescue home, with the Laurel crew asking for donations for various surgeries needed for some of the dogs. To donate, click here.
M/Y Global Transports Chefs
The 220-foot Shadow Marine boat, ran by Captain Kostas Andreou, has chartered for the non-profit relief organization World Central Kitchen, carrying pallets of food for those on the devastated island. Onboard is also a 3,000-pound crane which the captain is ferrying across, and he will teach several people on the island how to drive the vehicle, which will be used to carry 2,000 meals at a time to people in the worst hit areas.
The Bahamas Needs Your Help
In more positive news, while Dorian hit the two most northerly islands, the most popular cruising areas around the central and southern Bahamas were not affected. This will come as good news for yachting captains, many of whom will have feared the storm’s impact on cruising areas.
Island officials are saying that the cruising industry has never been so vital to the local community, as they help the two northern islands get back to normal. With the majority of the Bahamas unaffected by Dorian, BWA Yachting is encouraging people not to abandon their plans for a visit.
Obiama Knowles, manager of BWA Yachting Bahamas, wants to spread the word that yachts and superyachts are welcome, as we enter the peak of the cruising year. Mr Knowles said: “Don’t change your winter cruising plans because of the press coverage of hurricane Dorian. Only a very small area of the Bahamas has actually been hit by the storm and the rest of the region is very much open for business. Islanders are keen to offer their usual warm welcome to guests. As we help the two affected northern islands get back on their feet, yachting captains can rely on us as one of the most trusted firms in the region."
To make a donation to YachtAid Global, click here.
Images: Pixabay, Instagram/DogsbyDay, BWA Yachts