Hurricane Dorian wreaked havoc on the Bahamas, our closest neighbor to the east. This is an account of how one So. Florida community is stepping up.
The South Florida Community was quick to respond to the need for aid. As soon as it was safe several aircraft operators based out of Pompano Airpark began shuttling much needed relief supplies and aid personnel to all affected parts of the Bahamas via fixed wing and helicopter. Those flights carried medical supplies, food, water, baby supplies and personal hygiene items to mention a few. Often times they returned with families who lost homes there to stay with friends and relatives stateside.
Community donations solicited by the City if Pompano Beach and Rotary Club resulted in several truckloads of supplies and these were moved out the Bahamas via the efforts of Feed the Poor, Coconut Creek, Florida in the weeks right after the storm.
The biggest effort by far in this community outreach was spearheaded by the Sands Harbor Resort and Marina in Pompano Beach. They dedicated their north parking lot as a staging area for relief supplies and placed a clarion call for donations. This call was answered by individuals throughout the community and organizations as far away as Ohio and companies across the nation. An army of South Florida volunteers help sort the supplies and boarded a good share of it on donated boats from 25 ft. center consoles to 80 ft. yachts destined for various ports in the Bahamas. In addition, a benefactor from Texas agreed to pay for the bulk transportation of aid via 40 ft. containers. These supplies were consigned to churches, orphanages and civic organizations there to expedite distribution to those most in need. As of October 20th, an estimated 813,000 lbs. of aid have been dispatched from this location.
The need for immediate aid has now been mostly met and the time has come to help these communities rebuild. The City of Pompano Beach, Shipwreck Park and Florida based concert and festival promoters are working together in support of the Bahamas to host One Love Bahamas a benefit concert to aid recovery and rebuilding efforts in the Bahamas. The event will be held on Saturday, November 23rd at the Amp in Pompano Beach. All event proceeds will benefit Hurricane Dorian victims in the Bahamas and be administered by Shipwreck Park a 501 (c) (3) corporation.
Many residents of the Bahamas affected by the storm are now living on bottled water. The time frame for restoring fresh water and other infrastructure in many communities is nowhere in sight. Without a fresh potable water source valuable resources are being used to purchase bottled water and the resulting mountains of plastic bottles will continue to rise putting another environmental burden on these struggling communities.
One unique way donations and event proceeds will be deployed to aid in rebuilding is to purchase, distribute and install packaged reverse osmosis units that will convert sea water into fresh potable water to areas where there is no infrastructure. These units will consist of a small generator for producing the power to run the reverse osmosis units, the reverse osmosis device and a large tank to store the water. Each unit is capable of producing 1,500 to 1,800 gallons of water a day. The average cost of each unit is approximatley $7,500.
We estimate there may be a need for as many as 100 units.