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.
Our plan is to get to Abaco tomorrow and as the first order of business get these water purification units running so they can start providing thousands of gallons of critically needed drinking water. This is the most immediate and urgent need, with reports indicating as many as 62,000 people are without clean, drinkable water. That means by tomorrow your generous support will already be making a tangible difference for the people of the Bahamas!
We are already hearing that the need is FAR GREATER than we even anticipated. I must be ready to double or even triple our commitment here, and I want to start providing meals as soon as next week. But to do all this, we need faithful friends like you to partner with us TODAY THROUGH THIS WEEKEND!
Please prayerfully consider how you can help Mercy Chefs as our team hits the ground running at "ground zero" of the hurricane strike in the Bahamas. Then go here to make your tax-deductible gift and help bring relief to this devastated area while we continue other efforts:
+ + We are working on three fronts!
Hurricane Dorian has been one of the most complicated logistical responses in our history. In addition to our front-lines work in the Bahamas, earlier today our team served meals to families in Florida that had to evacuate before the storm. We also have one of our mobile kitchens, along with staff and chefs, staged within a few hours of the Carolinas as Dorian makes its way north, hugging the coast. Hundreds of thousands are already without power and coastal communities are bracing for hurricane force winds and as much as an 8-foot storm surge. We won't know until tomorrow at the earliest if, when, and where Mercy Chefs might need to deploy.
Right now, the most critical need is in the Bahamas, and tomorrow I plan to head to "ground zero" of the storm's strike. The need here is as great as I've seen. Please help Mercy Chefs help hurricane victims, many of whom are struggling with the basic essentials of life, and please continue to pray for the victims in the Bahamas as well as those who are currently still in Dorian's path.
Thank you and God bless,
Gary LeBlanc, Mercy Chefs
P.S. I'll provide more details of the conditions in the Bahamas hopefully in the next 24 hours. Communication could be difficult once we reach Abaco. From what we are hearing, the destruction is unimaginable. Stay tuned, and thanks for your help!