Just days after Hurricane Dorian pounded the Bahamas, a team of Canadian volunteers have landed in the country to provide relief to residents.
A team of seven with the Toronto-based non-profit GlobalMedic arrived in the Bahamas on Wednesday. Their cargo included two water purification units along with 1,016 family emergency kits filled with hygiene items, a solar light, and water-cleaning packets.
GlobalMedic provides short-term, immediate support following disasters around the world.
READ MORE: Hurricane Dorian lays waste to the Bahamas
Hurricane Dorian thrashed the Bahamas for two days starting Sunday. The then-Category 5 storm — with winds of up to 295 km/h — is estimated to have destroyed or severely damaged nearly half of the homes in Abaco and Grand Bahama, leaving many of its people in need of clean water, food and other essentials.
“Right now we’ve got boots on the ground,” said Rahul Singh, the group’s executive director.
“We’re starting to get that aid moved out and we’re starting to deliver it. We know from what we’re seeing there’s a lot more need, which means we need to ramp up.”
The registered charity said more than 60,000 people are in need of assistance — a need that is challenging to address after the strongest hurricane to hit the northern Bahamas.
“We can’t land big aircraft where we want to go,” Singh said.
“So it’s going to be onto boats or smaller helicopters or tiny planes — probably boats because of the way those airports are looking — so it’s going to be less and less hand-bombing stuff. It’s going to make it harder.”
Doug and Sherrill Colling, who visited on the Bahamas on their honeymoon 53 years ago and have been back multiple times since, volunteered in Toronto on Wednesday, accepting donations for the charity over the phone.
“We know the need is huge,” Doug told Global News.
“If we can just make a small dent and help the people of Abaco and Grand Bahama, that’s fantastic.”
The organization said Hurricane Dorian is its 214th mission.
GlobalMedic officials said they expect to have a mostly-volunteer team in the Bahamas for as long as necessary, likely lasting weeks or months.