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.