Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley has appealed to “all citizens who are able and willing,” to demonstrate Trinidad and Tobago’s “usual generosity and compassion to the people of the Bahamas.”
The prime minister made the call in a statement issued yesteday evening.
He urged citizens to come to the aid of the people of the Bahamas who have been devastated by Hurricane Dorian.
Dorian continues to affect the Bahamas although it has been downgraded to a Category Two hurricane.
The impact to Grand Bahama is still expected over the course of the next 24 hours.
Seven people are confirmed dead on Abacos Islands.
The prime minister’s statement came as the Caribbean Disaster Emergency Management Agency (CDEMA), the regional inter-governmental agency for disaster management for CARICOM, continues to support the Bahamas national response.
“The Government of the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago expects that it will know the full effects of the hurricane and the focused response of the people of Trinidad and Tobago by the time the Cabinet meets on Thursday,” Dr Rowley added.
Several groups in Trinidad and Tobago have taken steps to encourage volunteers to come forward with aid.
However, due to the lack of accessibility, many of them have only sought monetary contributions at this time.
The Red Cross explained outright they would not be sending volunteers or physical items to the Bahamas while the Salvation Army explained that while the Salvation Army Nassau had been preparing to lend aid, they were not able to send volunteers at least for one week.
Chris Matthias, Divisional Secretary of the Salvation Army called on persons willing to send aid to deposit donations into Salvation Army accounts at Republic Bank and First Citizens Bank as they seek to obtain items to send to the Bahamas.
Matthias noted it may be at least a week before volunteers get to the most affected islands, due to flooding at the airports there.
The Red Cross similarly asked good samaritans to make deposits in a bank account for the relief efforts.
Local NGO ‘Is There Not A Cause’ has also started a Gofundme page to raise funds for relief items.
Both the People’s National Movement and the United National Congress however, have sent out requests for donations of physical items such as canned food items, bottled water, medical supplies, toiletries, sanitary napkins, diapers and baby supplies.
They have asked that these items be dropped off at various constituency offices across the country.
The Trinidad and Tobago Manufacturing Association has also called for a donation drive in the wake of Dorian’s destruction, asking volunteers to drop off items at their Barataria office.
Bahamian Prime Minister Hubert Minnis took to the skies yesterday to view the vast destruction caused by the hurricane, which was downgraded to Category Two by yesterday morning after making landfall at Abaco as a powerful Category Five hurricane on Sunday.
It devastated the island of Grand Bahama while sitting over the island for over a day.
Minnis addressed the nation, which remains largely without electricity and limited telecommunications service, at 8 pm.
He said parts of Abaco are decimated.
He added that the country can expect more deaths to be recorded and asked for prayer for the families of those who lost their lives.
The prime minister also urged citizens not to make the grief worse for families by spreading pictures of those who died.
Earlier in the day, the Royal Bahamas Defense Force continued its search and rescue efforts in Abaco and Grand Bahama, where flooding remained a significant challenge.
“Right now we’re going to continue with our search and rescue efforts. We would have been told yesterday that we took about 21 persons out of Abaco with the assistance of the US Coast Guard,” said Lieutenant Commander Sonia Miller of the RBDF.
“As these HELOs bring injured persons out of Abaco, we’re going to inject defense force Marines on the return flight to Abaco so we can increase our manpower on that island.”
According to initial United Nations figures, over 60,000 persons were in need of food and water following Dorian’s devastation.
Two Rapid Needs teams from CARPHA comprising 18 persons have been mobilised as well to help while the University of the West Indies have said they will work with Caribbean Disaster Emergency Management Agency to provide aid.
The Caribbean nation is still being affected by the outer bands of the hurricane, as it moved north along the South West coast of the United States.
Up to yesterday evening, all of the counties in Florida State remained under a state of emergency, although tropical storm watch was lifted for Broward County and Palm Beach county.
The Fort Lauderdale Airport airport was reopened.
However the states of Georgia and South Carolina were put on alert as Dorian continued to move north.