Dorian Response Operations Update #4

GER3 has continued to scale up our efforts responding to hurricane Dorian with recovery programs in Grand Bahama. The focus of our work is currently on two projects:

1) Restoring and reopening seven schools (for approximately 6,000 students) in Freeport and the surrounding areas in partnership with UNICEF, the Ministry of Education, and the District Superintendent.

2) Rehabiliation of twenty (20) homes of highly vulnerable persons so they can retrun to their homes as quickly as possible. This work is made possible through a new grant from the Center for Disaster Philanthropy (CDP).

GER3 has been able to accomplish so much in a short period of time thanks to our dedicated Global Response Team (GRT) effort, including our dedicated recovery crews that are working hard every day to help those affected in Grand Bahama. As with all of our programs, we are guided by community needs and focused on finding ways to recycle and reuse materials while we build back better.

GER3’s recovery work in public schools in Grand Bahama has continued to scale up significantly through our partnership with UNICEF, who we had an opportunity to host along with a USAID colleague this week to monitor progress. Working with the local communities, partner organizations and educational leaders, we are carrying out site by site assessments of targeted schools. Damage and debris from the hurricane have impacted the schools at varying levels and we are committed to tailoring our approach to meet the local needs and priorities.

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GER3 featured in local newspaper:

GER3’s efforts at one of the island’s largest schools, Hugh Campbell Primary, was recently featured in Freeport’s local newspaper: http://www.tribune242.com/news/2019/oct/04/hugh-campbell-school-may-be-open-in-days/

The Grand Bahama District Superintendent is working closely with our GER 3 team to target our programs in the most impactful way, supporting 6,000 local public school students to return to school as soon as possible. The Superindenant recently toured the various school sites with us and shared his satisfaction with the work and training carried out thus far. We are all working hard to help the schools reopen soon and ensure children are safely back in classrooms learning effectively.

Pictured above a successfully renovated classroom and the GER3 Operations Coordinator discussing plans with Ivan Butler (District Superintendent) and a remediation specialist.

Thanks to a grant from CDP, our teams are also laying the groundwork for helping vulnerable Bahamians return to their homes with critical support from CDP. GER3’s housing recovery work is focusing on the eastern coast of Grand Bahama where hurricane damage was devastating. This week, GER3 is carrying out community and household-level assessments to identify which homes will be targeted for debris removal and repair. Where possible, our recovery teams will aim to recycle and reuse materials, helping to ensure a more environmentally-focused response effort.

GER3 Recovery Team ensuring the school grounds are clean and safe for children to return

GER3 Recovery Team ensuring the school grounds are clean and safe for children to return

Our GRT now includes three international staff, Field Program Coordinator, Operations Coordinator, and Recovery Planning and Systems Coordinator, and 13 local Bahamian staff. Our aim is to expand with an additional Operations Coordinator and local recovery teams in the coming week to tackle the significant work ahead in the recovery process.

Dorian Response Operations Update #3

GER3 has had another busy week contributing to hurricane Dorian response and recovery efforts in Grand Bahama. Our Global Response Team collaborated with many organizations to coordinate the ongoing response efforts and begin the transition into the recovery phase. We have continued our work restoring schools in Freeport and are excited to announce a partnership with UNICEF which will support the continuation of our school recovery programs over the next two weeks.

GER3’s recovery work in public schools in Freeport has scaled up significantly through our new partnership with UNICEF. As one of the first international organizations on the ground in Grand Bahama post Dorian, GER3’s ongoing focus on schools has been recognized and appreciated at many levels. Working closely with the District Superintendent since the early stages of the response, UNICEF recently selected GER3 as their partner to continue the school restoration process in Freeport. Our GRT now includes three international staff, Program Coordinator, Operations Coordinator, and Volunteer Senior Representative, and twelve local Bahamian staff. All are working closely with UNICEF and the Ministry of Education to quickly and effectively restore four selected schools in Freeport.

Two of our international staff are based in Freeport, leading the school restoration in close coordination with the District Superintendent and Ministry of Education. Our local Bahamian team has been supplied with mold remediation supplies and Personal Protective Equipment and has been trained on the appropriate techniques and processes for effective mold remediation. Team Rubicon, Port Authority, Samaritan’s Purse and others continue to supplement our work in schools as well, making excellent progress with sheetrock demolition and tarping of roofs. Once initial debris removal and mold remediation takes place, our team will be working with local service providers to support with professional sheetrock installation, flooring and other services.

At Hugh Campbell Primary School, the majority of classrooms have been gutted, disinfected with bleach and treated with sodium bi-carbonate for mold remediation. Vinyl tiles and protruding nails are being removed, walls are being scraped and prepped for spackling, and painting will follow. GER3 will be working with a local sheet rock contractor to replace ceilings and some walls. Damaged classroom materials, such as warped and rusted desks, are being assessed for repairs and possible recycling and/or reuse within the schools. Our GRT expects some classrooms to be ready on Friday, September 27th.

The MoE senior consultant visited the GER3 sites and expressed satisfaction with the work and training carried out thus far. Our team continues to work closely with the Ministry of Education to ensure that the schools reopen as quickly as possible and in line with appropriate guidance, regulations and approvals.

GER3 Senior Representative and volunteer, Iain Logan, is based in Nassau and continues to represent GER3 at key meetings and working groups, including a Debris Management group where a number of INGOs, including GER3, have been asked by the Ministry of the Environment to present inputs and contribute advice and suggestions to the government’s Debris Management Plan of Action. GER3 is also active with UNICEF and three other agencies in the Education Working Group, helping to develop a coordinated approach to their planning process. Logan is ensuring that GER3 adheres to all accreditation and registration requirements and regulations related to our work in the Bahamas and continues to ensure our team is well connected and coordinated with the Government of the Bahamas’ key ministries and other recovery organizations. GER3 sees an ongoing need for recovery and reconstruction in both Grand Bahama and Abaco and will continue to explore options for expanding our programs over the next several weeks.

Dorian Response Operations Update #2

GER3's Global Response Team is now composed of 11 persons (3 international staff and 8 national staff) and remains actively involved in the response to hurricane Dorian in the Bahamas. Our team has been operating out of Freeport, Grand Bahama since September 8th with additional coordination based in Nassau since September 4th. Among the first international teams on the ground in Grand Bahama, our GRT has conducted assessments of schools and health facilities in Freeport and in the island’s eastern communities of Freetown and High Rock. Our team has scaled up to include eight local staff who are supporting daily debris clearance and cleanup, as well as distributions of relief and shelter kits in partnership with the International Federation of the Red Cross (IFRC). We are continuing assessments and support to communities in the eastern part of the island, while also growing our operations in the city of Freeport.

At Rand Memorial Hospital, two GER3 crews supported with a week of cleaning and clearing debris in and around their health facilities. The teams cleared significant quantities of tree limbs and scrap metal filling 68 large bags of waste and debris. This work has enabled access to the hospital landing pad for helicopter access and additional operation capacity of the hospital itself. GER3 also partnered with Rand Nature Preserve, where our debris specialist and local staff team cleared their walking paths of trees and debris. In addition, our team procured a woodchipper in order to turn loose debris into mulch that will restore pathways. Staff at both Rand Memorial Hospital and Rand Nature Reserve are very appreciative of GER3’s support as they can see recovery in action bringing significant physical and psychological benefits to the affected population.

GER3 has also focused on assessments and debris clearance in schools throughout Freeport. The team has worked with the Freeport District Superintendent of public schools to identify the most affected schools. We have now identified 10 schools in urgent need of debris clearance before additional repairs can begin. This is a critical first step in restoring schools so that students can return as quickly as possible. Our team has already started operations in two public schools, including Maurice E. Moore primary school and St. George’s High school, two of the largest schools in the island with over 1200 students combined.

GER3 and the Bahamian Red Cross donated 35 rolls of tarpaper to local high schools to fix their leaking roofs from the hurricane. These will help stop the leaks from ongoing storm systems until long term repairs can begin. Rolls were distributed to St. George’s high school and Jack Hayward High school with the District Superintendent.

Our GRT continues to develop debris management plans and is meeting with partners and donors to discuss options for longer term debris management programs. We hope to design and implement larger scale debris management programs, similar to programs we have led in the past, which will be community-led and offer livelihoods opportunities for most affected communities in removing, recycling and re-using the debris resulting from hurricane Dorian.

GER3 volunteer, Iain Logan, will be arriving in Nassau on Tuesday to continue to develop our operational plans, attending important coordination and partner meetings at the Emergency Operations Center led by OCHA in Nassau.

Grand Bahama Operations Continue

Yesterday was a busy and productive day for our GRT in Grand Bahama. Our debris specialist and local staff team supported the Rand Nature Reserve, clearing their walking paths of trees and debris. We continued support at Rand Hospital, with two work crews clearing and cleaning the health facilities. Another team headed back to the community in High Rock to conduct additional needs assessments, focusing on how to address the debris removal and home restoration process. Our partner, Field Ready, also assessed the need for solar power in High Rock including options for repairing existing solar systems in the area.

Today, we will continue our operations and will also be working with the IFRC to consider distributions of additional relief and shelter supplies to most vulnerable communities in Grand Bahama. Updates to come!

Dorian Response - Operations Update #1

GER3's Global Response Team (GRT) arrived in Nassau on September 4th, equipped with relief and recovery supplies and prepared to respond to the devastation left by Hurricane Dorian. Upon arrival, the team connected with the Bahamian National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA), the leader of current response efforts, and attended initial coordination meetings and briefings with United Nations agencies, the Red Cross, INGOs and other local partners and agencies. With the information and coordination of these groups, the GRT prepared to mobilize to Grand Bahama.

The GRT deployed to Grand Bahama to assess the most affected areas and immediately begin relief and recovery support. Our team quickly set up operations in Freeport, establishing a temporary EOC, vehicles, drivers and equipment to begin operations.

In Freeport, the team immediately started support to Rand Memorial Hospital with debris clearance so that they can increase their operational capacity. The administrative staff run six health centers on the island, all of which were seriously affected by Dorian. Rand Hospital is operating at a limited capacity, while many of the other health centers are not operating at all. One is currently inaccessible entirely. The hospital staff are exhausted and overwhelmed, working 16hr+ days to get the hospital back online and functional. Most of the staff’s homes have also been badly affected. GER3’s team offered support and they graciously accepted our services, particularly the debris clearance support we could offer. With our help, Rand’s medical helipad was cleared for access today.

In addition to supporting Rand hospital, GER 3 delivered a generator, shelter items, clean up supplies and water purification tablets to High Rock, one of the worst affected communities on Grand Bahama. Most of the community was destroyed and GER 3 will continue supporting these severely affected communities all along the eastern coast.

GER 3 is focusing on designing programs that consider the full recovery process. Our programs are built to facilitate the transition from the relief and recovery phase through the reconstruction phase. We hope to stay with these affected communities throughout the full process, enabling a smooth process for relief and recovery and leaving them fully recovered and rebuilt better than before hurricane Dorian struck the island.

Hurricane Dorian Response Update

The GER3 team is now operational in Grand Bahama. Our Global Response Team (GRT) sourced supplies and equipment to support affected communities, including cleaning equipment (sanitizing products, gloves, sponges, etc), chainsaws for debris removal, a generator, duct tape, flashlights and a supply of water tablets to purify drinking water.

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The team arrived in Freeport this afternoon and will begin working with communities and will gain insight for additional supplies, equipment and types of support most needed. The team will mobilize to most affected communities and begin supporting immediate needs.

The GRT will continue to assess needs on the ground on the eastern part of the island with a continued focus on debris management. Our debris specialist will work with local community members to assess and appropriately address debris. We will train communities on proper chainsaw use for clearing and re-using organic debris where possible. Initial assessments will continue to inform GER3’s programming, focusing on addressing the immediate needs while also preparing for transitioning from relief and recovery all the way through reconstruction. Updates from Grand Bahama to come!

RESPONDING TO HURRICANE DORIAN

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GER3 is responding to Hurricane Dorian that is causing devastation in the Bahamas and that is also a significant threat the US east coast. Unfortunately, the indications are that the needs for support in the Bahamas will be significant including for debris management operations.  

GER3 is deploying its Global Response Team (GRT) and will be operational in affected areas as soon as possible. GER3 will be targeting support to especially vulnerable families who have been affected by Dorian. Our team will be working with community members to identify families most in need, understand how to best support, and provide the appropriate help to get them back into their homes as quickly as possible.

Likely support includes: 

  • Clean-up kits

  • Cleaning out homes, schools and health facilities with the removal or recycling of debris

  • Connecting families with a range of partner resources (e.g. food, water, housing, medical facilities) that can help them recover faster

  • Identification and supply of professionals to support with home repair, restoration of schools and health facilities

As with all GER3 operations, we seek to use sustainable supplies, recycle available materials and respond based on the needs specified by the communities and households themselves. We plan to match the GER3 'build back better' approach to meet those needs as best as possible. 

GER3 believes response is strengthened through partnerships, and is looking forward to working with other great organizations to have a deep impact on targeted families.  

100% of any donations made here on our website will now go directly to the GER3 Dorian operation and will help people recover as quickly as possible.

You can follow us on Facebook (https://www.facebook.com/GEmergencyR3/), Instagram (https://www.instagram.com/gemergencyr/) and Twitter (https://twitter.com/GEmergencyR). 

Additionally, GER3 is now on Amazon Smile!  Click here (https://smile.amazon.com/ch/81-0690876) when you do your Amazon shopping as a portion of the amount you pay will come to GER3 at no extra cost to you.

Fall 2018 Updates

GER3 recently responded to three emergencies, deploying response teams and immediate assistance to the most vulnerable communities in the aftermath of hurricanes Florence (North Carolina) and Michael (Florida) as well as the Indonesia Earthquake and Tsunami (Sulawesi, Indonesia). GER3 response teams deployed to the affected areas as soon as possible in order to assess the needs on the ground and tailor relief and recovery efforts to meet the specific needs which emerged after each disaster.

Responding to Hurricane Florence in September, a GER3 disaster response team immediately deployed to the region with equipment for relief and recovery. The team, in partnership with J/P HRO, targeted efforts towards critically vulnerable families affected by the flooding in Robeson County, North Carolina. The response included: Muck outs and debris clearance, pumps (for pumping water from homes), dehumidifiers & fans, clean-up kits, and identification and supply of contractors to support with mold remediation. For more details about the specific response efforts, partnerships, and results in Robeson county, please visit the project page here.

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In response to the 7.5 magnitude earthquake in Indonesia, GER3 deployed a disaster response and recovery team to conduct initial assessments, deliver assistance and design programming focused on debris management and building back better. GER3 targeted support to local communities (households, schools and health facilities) and supported the management of debris and shelter challenges they faced. For more information and photos, please visit the project page here.

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Responding to hurricane Michael in Florida, GER3 focused on maximizing impact for a few select families in a particularly vulnerable town. The team supported a local entrepreneur with a small logging business to provide debris removal for families in Blountstown. Additional information and personal experiences shared by each family supported by GER3 can be found here.

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Hurricane Michael response

GER3 is now responding to Hurricane Michael which caused devastation and a need for significant debris management operations in the Florida panhandle and many other areas.

The GER3 team has arrived in the affected area with equipment (including clean up kits, generators, telecommunications equipment, personal protective equipment, and more) and is now operational. GER3 is targeting support to especially vulnerable families and providing the appropriate support to get them back into their homes as quickly as possible.

As with all GER3 operations, we seek to use sustainable supplies, recycle available materials and respond based on the needs specified by the communities and households themselves. We plan to match the GER3 'build back better' approach to meet those needs as best as possible.

GER3 believes response is strengthened through partnerships, and is looking forward to working with other great organizations already in the area to have a deep impact on targeted families.

100% of any donations go directly to the GER3 Michael operation and will help people recover as quickly as possible.

Additionally, GER3 is now on Amazon Smile! Click here (https://smile.amazon.com/ch/81-0690876) when you do your Amazon shopping as a portion of the amount you pay will come to GER3 at no extra cost - thank you for your support!

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