A Coast Guardsman talks to a civilian aboard an HC-144 Ocean Sentry aircraft, Sept. 5, as the Miami-based aircraft medevacs 10 people from Marsh Harbour to Nassau, Bahamas, in the aftermath of Hurricane Dorian. Photo by Coast Guard Petty Officer 3rd Class Hunter Medley, courtesy of U.S. Dept. of Defense.
By Linda Bloom
Sept. 5, 2019 | UM News
As Hurricane Dorian continued to threaten the U.S. east coast, United Methodists were connecting with Methodists in the Bahamas to start relief efforts.
The Bahamas Conference of the Methodist Church already is fielding requests to help those being evacuated from the “unprecedented devastation” to receive basic supplies and find a place to live, says its president, the Rev. L. Carla Culmer.
But the survivors also need someone to hear their stories. “We want to see how we can counsel and listen and be there for them,” she told UM News in a Sept. 5 phone interview.
After striking the island nation on Sept. 1, Hurricane Dorian caused “vast devastation”and left 70,000 people in need of immediate humanitarian relief, says Mark Lowcock, head of the U.N. Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs.
Bahamas Prime Minister Hubert Minnis called Dorian the most damaging storm ever to hit the island group, Reuters reported. Worst hit was the Abaco Islands in the northern Bahamas and Grand Bahama Island. As of Sept. 5, the death toll was 20.
Culmer, who also serves as the pastor at Wesley-Grants Town Church in Nassau, agreed.
“People are traumatized because the storm lasted so long,” Culmer said. “We heard about 20 deaths, but we believe there are many more deaths.”
The receding floodwaters “will reveal a lot,” she added. “And maybe some of the things it will reveal we won’t be ready for.”
You can make a contribution to UMCOR disaster relief through Christ Church. Mark it for “Hurricane.”