On Sunday, September 1, Hurricane Dorian made landfall on the Bahamas as the strongest storm to ever hit the country, and the second strongest Atlantic storm on record. The Category 5 storm produced sustained winds of 180 mph, along with torrential rains and storm surges that submerged the Bahamian islands of Abaco and Grand Bahama.
Here are four ways that the U.S. Agency for International Development is helping communities in the Bahamas affected by Hurricane Dorian:
1. Deploying a USAID Disaster Team
On Monday, September 2, USAID deployed a Disaster Assistance Response Team (DART) to the Bahamas to coordinate U.S. response efforts, conduct damage assessments, identify priority needs, and work closely with local authorities and humanitarian organizations to provide assistance to people in need.
This elite team currently comprises 32 USAID disaster experts, including logisticians and experts in emergency shelter.
2. Sending Search and Rescue Teams
On Wednesday, September 4, 57 search-and-rescue experts and four dogs from Fairfax County Fire and Rescue deployed to the Bahamas to join the USAID DART. The team deployed with 50,000 pounds of medical equipment and specialized tools — including inflatable boats, life vests, water rescue equipment, listening devices, and search cameras. The team is working with Bahamian authorities on search and rescue operations, and assessing buildings and infrastructure for damage.
3. Providing Relief Supplies by Air and by Sea
After conducting assessments of damaged areas, the DART identified shelter, water, sanitation, and hygiene as critical priorities. On Wednesday, USAID airlifted 47 metric tons of critical relief supplies from its emergency warehouse in Miami to the Bahamas, including:
450 rolls of heavy-duty plastic sheeting to meet urgent shelter needs
2,400 buckets and water containers to provide safe drinking water
600 hygiene kits to help prevent the spread of disease
4 kits to help remove debris, including chainsaws, axes, and other tools
On September 6, five U.S. Coast Guard ships arrived in the Bahamas with 250 rolls of USAID plastic sheeting to provide emergency shelter for affected communities.
Altogether, the relief supplies provided by USAID will help an estimated 44,000 people impacted by the hurricane. Our DART on the ground is coordinating with the Bahamas’s National Emergency Management Agency to distribute the relief items to people who need them.
4. Working with Humanitarian Partners
To date, USAID has provided more than $1.8 million in humanitarian assistance to help people affected by Hurricane Dorian in the Bahamas. This includes funding to the Bahamas Red Cross to provide household items to people who have lost everything.
The Bahamas Red Cross is distributing USAID-funded hygiene kits, portable stoves, towels, sheets, and blankets to affected communities. Additional distributions will be taking place in coming days.
The United States stands by everyone affected by this disaster, and will continue our work to save lives, alleviate suffering, and help people recover.
Editor's Note: This entry originally appeared on USAID's blog.