November 14, 2019

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Churches ready to aid Bahamas hurricane victims

Royal Bahamas Defense Forces and Royal Bahamas Police help evacuees move to an awaiting ferry boat at Marsh Harbour Port in Abaco, Bahamas, Friday, Sept. 6, 2019. Carrying their meager possessions in duffel bags and shopping carts, hundreds of desperate storm victims gathered at the port in Grand Abaco on Friday in hopes of getting off the hurricane-devastated island, amid signs of rising frustration over the pace of the disaster-relief effort. (Al Diaz/Miami Herald via AP)

Royal Bahamas Defense Forces and Royal Bahamas Police help evacuees move to an awaiting ferry boat at Marsh Harbour Port in Abaco, Bahamas, Friday, Sept. 6, 2019. Carrying their meager possessions in duffel bags and shopping carts, hundreds of desperate storm victims gathered at the port in Grand Abaco on Friday in hopes of getting off the hurricane-devastated island, amid signs of rising frustration over the pace of the disaster-relief effort. (Al Diaz/Miami Herald via AP)

Manitobans wanting to help people in the Bahamas impacted by Hurricane Dorian have a number of options.

Eight Canadian church-related international relief and development agencies have announced appeals to help people in that country: ADRA Canada (Adventist), Canadian Baptist Ministries, Nazarene Compassionate Ministries, Presbyterian World Service & Development, The Primate's World Relief & Development Fund (Anglican), The Salvation Army, The United Church of Canada and World Renew (Christian Reformed).

"We are lining up our rapid response volunteers to help with clean-up should the need arise," said World Renew Disaster Response Services director Bob Laarman.

"We are also in touch with our contacts all along the East Coast [of the U.S.] to let them know that we are praying for them and available to help after the storm."

A boat sits grounded in the aftermath of Hurricane Dorian, in Marsh Harbor, Abaco Island, Bahamas, Friday, Sept. 6, 2019. The Bahamian health ministry said helicopters and boats are on the way to help people in affected areas, though officials warned of delays because of severe flooding and limited access. (AP Photo/Gonzalo Gaudenzi)

A boat sits grounded in the aftermath of Hurricane Dorian, in Marsh Harbor, Abaco Island, Bahamas, Friday, Sept. 6, 2019. The Bahamian health ministry said helicopters and boats are on the way to help people in affected areas, though officials warned of delays because of severe flooding and limited access. (AP Photo/Gonzalo Gaudenzi)

ADRA Canada has announced it will respond with "lifesaving supplies of food, water, emergency shelter kits, and toiletry supplies."

The Primate’s Fund will send donations to Episcopal Relief and Development in the U.S. for distribution through the Anglican Alliance, of which it is also a member.

The funds will be provided to the Anglican Diocese of the Bahamas and the Turks and Caicos as it begins to evaluate and assess the needs of local communities in the diocese.

The United Church of Canada will provide funds for relief and reconstruction efforts through its partners, including the Methodist Church in the Caribbean and the Americas and ACT Alliance, a coalition of Protestant and Orthodox church organizations engaged in humanitarian work. Presbyterian World Service & Development is also working through Act Alliance.

Other agencies are in contact with people on the ground in the Bahamas to find out the best ways they can be of assistance. All are inviting Canadians to pray for people in that country as they cope with the aftermath of the storm.

A list of church-related groups that are responding can be found on the Canadian Foodgrains Bank website at www.foodgrainsbank.ca.

Evacuees gather at Marsh Harbour Port in Abaco, Bahamas, Friday, Sept. 6, 2019. Carrying their meager possessions in duffel bags and shopping carts, hundreds of desperate storm victims gathered at the port in Grand Abaco on Friday in hopes of getting off the hurricane-devastated island, amid signs of rising frustration over the pace of the disaster-relief effort. (Al Diaz/Miami Herald via AP)

Evacuees gather at Marsh Harbour Port in Abaco, Bahamas, Friday, Sept. 6, 2019. Carrying their meager possessions in duffel bags and shopping carts, hundreds of desperate storm victims gathered at the port in Grand Abaco on Friday in hopes of getting off the hurricane-devastated island, amid signs of rising frustration over the pace of the disaster-relief effort. (Al Diaz/Miami Herald via AP)

In addition to those organizations, the Canadian Red Cross is also responding.

"We are starting to get a sense of the damage and are supporting the Red Cross volunteers on the ground," said Chiran Livera, operations manager for the organization.

"We know that relief assistance will continue for the next few days as we access all affected people and we are mobilizing international assistance to reinforce the local Red Cross response," he said, adding "our immediate focus is on life saving assistance such as food, water, shelter and health."

Donations to the Red Cross can be made at www.redcross.ca.

Hurricane Dorian made a direct hit on the Bahamas as a Category five storm. At this point, the scope of the damage, and the loss of life and injuries, is just becoming known.

Faith@freepress.mb.ca

John Longhurst

John Longhurst
Faith reporter

John Longhurst has been writing for Winnipeg's faith pages since 2003. He also writes for Religion News Service in the U.S., and blogs about the media, marketing and communications at Making the News.

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History

Updated on Friday, September 6, 2019 at 7:38 PM CDT: Updates photos

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