Larger air and ocean cargo operators are beginning to arrive in the Bahamas with emergency supplies days after Hurricane Dorian pulverized parts of the archipelago and made transportation there potentially treacherous.
American Airlines on Sept. 5 sent a Boeing 737 from Miami to Nassau to deliver more than 14,000 pounds of relief supplies to hurricane victims, the company said. Before the storm arrived, American also sent 2,000 pounds of survival goods.
Air Canada also delivered a Global Medic response team and emergency kits free of charge from Toronto to Nassau, according to Airlink spokeswoman Emily Sperling. The kits contain a water purification solution to provide clean drinking water and hygiene items such as bars of soap, toothbrushes, toothpaste and a solar light.
Airlink is a humanitarian freight broker that matches nongovernmental organizations with donated airfreight services.
Meanwhile, SEACOR Island Lines, which regularly operates small container vessels and landing craft from its base at Port Everglades, FL, said one of its vessels sailed to Freeport. The island sustained heavy damage, but the port is able to accept some small vessels at this point. Larger container vessels that would regularly call at Freeport, a large transshipment hub, are being rerouted to Kingston, Jamaica, and other ports.
SEACOR announced it is committing $250,000 in financial aid and in-kind logistics services to nonprofit relief agencies to help deliver food staples, basic construction materials and portable power generation units. It is working with Bahamian and U.S. government agencies to assess the extent of Dorian’s impact on local waterways and port infrastructure.
Carnival Cruise Line will send two ships from the Port of Baltimore and Port Canaveral, in Florida, to Freeport to deliver food, water and other relief supplies. The ships will call in Freeport as part of scheduled voyages with customers onboard, the company said.
The American Logistics Aid Network, which helps organize logistics for disaster relief organizations, is looking for donors to provide passenger vans, warehouse space, manpower and transportation on the U.S. mainland and in the Bahamas, according to an online list of needs.
Another charitable group, Direct Relief, said on its website that FedEx is transporting a shipment of antibiotics, wound care items, medication and other medical supplies to South Florida, where medical teams from the region are preparing to be airlifted to Nassau to provide health care. The shipment provides enough medicine and supplies for doctors and nurses to treat hundreds of patients.
Based on initial assessments, up to 75,000 people may be in need of medical care, according to Direct Relief.
Most supplies are arriving in the capital of Nassau, but getting them to the Abaco Islands and other locations is being hindered by flooding and communications blackouts, according to people involved in the relief efforts. Initially, efforts often smaller aircraft and ships. Jet Skis and Zodiac inflatable boats are being used to reach more isolated spots.