Today is DAY NINE of Mercy Chefs providing hot meals, fresh produce and vital supplies to Hurricane Dorian evacuees here in the Bahamas, and the need isn't letting up.
In fact, hundreds of evacuees are still arriving every day, putting even more strain on the over-capacity shelters as well as the locals who are opening their homes to the evacuees. Today, we're adding two new churches as partners in our distribution network, which has been the key in getting hot meals to the families who are taking in five, ten or more hurricane victims. Just about everyone here is taking in evacuees.Read more
With thousands of evacuees still pouring in, the conditions in the shelters are getting more pressurized.
It tears at my heart. First off, just about every person we are serving was forced to evacuate because their home and just about all their belongings had been destroyed. That alone makes every day a battle just to survive. The local paper is reporting that thousands are still missing. That means many of those who are receiving hot meals from Mercy Chefs already lost a loved one or close friend or know someone who is still missing two weeks after the storm.Read more
As I write, the Bahamas is bracing for yet another storm that could quickly develop into a tropical storm. Unbelievably, the storm is following almost an identical path as Hurricane Dorian and is expected to bring high winds and rain to areas that are still very much in crisis. Flights are again being shut down and we are preparing for localized flooding. There is great concern for Grand Bahama and Abaco, where the prospect of more rain and more winds would just add to the devastation.
Everyone here is greatly concerned. We feel it everywhere we go, and especially as we are providing hot meals to the evacuees. And with more evacuees still coming to Nassau, tensions continue to mount.Read more
As I've been sharing, the situation here in the Bahamas with THOUSANDS of hurricane evacuees is almost overwhelming. More and more are coming every day, and our team here has been struggling to do everything we can to get hot meals to as many people as possible.
Today, we had a breakthrough. My team was able to secure a tilt skillet that will greatly expand our daily meal capacity. The skillet is being transported to Florida today, and we hope it will arrive here in the Bahamas as soon as tomorrow.
But here's what that means...Read more
Yesterday I told you the need here in the Bahamas was overwhelming as THOUSANDS UPON THOUSANDS of evacuees flood the capitol region of Nassau. The shelters aren't just full -- they are busting at the seams. One that we are serving was designed for 400 people. It now has 1,700 evacuees. And thousands more are coming to the island every day.Read more
A deep sadness hit everyone here yesterday afternoon when unconfirmed reports began circulating that thousands may have died from Hurricane Dorian in the Bahamas. Everyone has suspected that was the case. We don't yet know how many people lost their lives, but thousands are still missing. The reality of the crisis this nation is in just went to a new level.
All we can do is help the survivors. Tens of thousands have evacuated here to the Nassau area and desperately need meals. Here at Mercy Chefs, we are overwhelmed by the need (see my message below for details). Today, we'll serve thousands of meals. I just bought the only available commercial oven on the island. It cost $9,100, but I had to move quickly. The need is DOUBLING every day, and I must double and double again our hot meal capacity.
There's no other way to say this -- WE ARE OVERWHELMED BY THE VOLUME AND THE URGENCY OF THE NEED HERE.
Evacuees are FLOODING to Nassau -- reports indicate another 15,000 hurricane victims arrived over the weekend. Yesterday, we served 800 meals. Today just for lunch that nearly DOUBLED to 1,200 meals, but we had requests for 3,000 meals and I'm staring at requests for another 3,000 meals for dinner.Read more
Yesterday I got a first-hand look at the devastation on Grand Bahama Island -- one of the two islands that faced the full force of Hurricane Dorian's Category 5 winds and flooding.
The situation is beyond description -- as bad if not worse than anything I've seen. Just getting to the island is extremely difficult. Most scheduled flights yesterday were cancelled, including multiple flights that were to transport our water purification units. We will try again today. Fortunately, I was able to make it to the island thanks to the Prime Minister, who invited me to fly on his plane. I had an opportunity to share with the Prime Minister about the resources Mercy Chefs can bring to the Bahamas. Doors are opening with leaders here for Mercy Chefs to provide substantial relief, but every step will be a challenge.Read more
The situation here in the Bahamas is very fluid as literally an entire country is in crisis. Everyone we've met has either a relative or friend who was caught in the crossfire of this massive hurricane -- the second largest ever to make landfall in the Atlantic.
All reports indicate that conditions on Abaco Island are even worse than what has been reported on the American news. There is much chaos as thousands are without a place to live, food, or water. As I write, the government is working to restore order on the island so that full relief efforts can get to the people there. Please pray that the unrest will end so that those in desperate need can get relief.Read more
I'm on the ground in the Bahamas and it is very clear that this country is going through perhaps the most difficult crisis in its history.
It has been a whirlwind past 24 hours -- getting flights, securing the first water purification units, moving those units to the airport and on the plane, and then our flight here. Later this evening, our team will be headed to meetings with our key contact here in the Bahamas. Mercy Chefs is coordinating our relief efforts with Bahamian Emergency Management as well as local churches to maximize our effectiveness. As I've noted, we've been asked to focus on "ground zero" of the Category 5 storm's strike zone -- the island of Abaco.Read more