Southwestern Bahamas Devastated by Irma

There’s no shortage of images of the effects of Hurricane Irma in the national and international media today. But you’re probably not seeing these.

Southwestern Bahamas Devastated by Hurricane Irma - Here's How You Can Help

Photo courtesy of the  Team Cooper/Chester Cooper Facebook page

This is Ragged Island, in the southwest Bahamas.

Southwestern Bahamas Devastated by Hurricane Irma - Here's How You Can Help

Photo courtesy of the Team Cooper/Chester Cooper Facebook page

Though Irma traveled far enough west that the northeastern Bahamas (including Abaco) felt nothing but a strong breeze, islands in the southern and western Bahamas were subjected to her full wrath.

Southwestern Bahamas Devastated by Hurricane Irma - Here's How You Can Help

Photo courtesy of the Team Cooper/Chester Cooper Facebook page

Acklins, Bimini and even Grand Bahama have all suffered damage. And the effects on Ragged Island have been nothing short of catastrophic.

Southwestern Bahamas Devastated by Hurricane Irma - Here's How You Can Help

Photo courtesy of the Team Cooper/Chester Cooper Facebook page

Yesterday, MP for Exuma and Ragged Island, Chester Cooper, wrote on Facebook: “Porches that I sat on. The motel where I stayed. The restaurant where I ate. All gone! The stench of rotting carcasses of dead fish and goats. Ninety-five percent of all the power lines are down. The clinic, the schools, administration buildings – all gone.”

Southwestern Bahamas Devastated by Hurricane Irma - Here's How You Can Help

Photo courtesy of the Team Cooper/Chester Cooper Facebook page

Thankfully, prior to Irma’s arrival, Bahamian Prime Minister Hubert Minnis ordered a mandatory evacuation of six of the country’s southernmost islands, a decision which no doubt saved many lives.

Several thousand residents of Mayaguana, Inagua, Crooked Island, Acklins, Long Cay and Ragged Island were flown into Nassau, where they’re being housed in various shelters.

Southwestern Bahamas Devastated by Hurricane Irma - Here's How You Can Help

Bahamian Prime Minister Hubert Minnis meets with young evacuees at New Providence Community Centre. (Photo: Yontalay Bowe, OPM Media Services)

Nassau’s New Providence Community Centre, for example, is currently hosting 153 residents from Inagua, Acklins, Crooked Island, Mayaguana and Ragged Island, including nearly 80 children, the youngest just five weeks old.

And though these folks and their fellow evacuees are blessed to have their lives and each other, that’s really all they do have. In many cases, they’ve lost their homes, furniture, even clothing. They simply have nothing left.

Southwestern Bahamas Devastated by Hurricane Irma - Here's How You Can Help

Photo courtesy of the Team Cooper/Chester Cooper Facebook page

HeadKnowles, a group formed by Bahamians Gina Knowles and Lia Head-Rigby, is one of the agencies spearheading the Irma relief effort. Having raised and distributed $2.5 million in aid for the Bahamian victims of Hurricanes Joaquin and Matthew, these ladies know what they’re doing.

“The news may say, ‘The Bahamas was spared…’ but we were not,” Lia Head-Rigby wrote on September 10. “Many homes were just decimated… Many settlements were crushed. Many evacuees no longer have a home to go back to. We need your help to help them.”

I know Hurricane Irma has left lots of folks throughout the Caribbean and the U.S. in need, but if you’re able to help those Bahamians whose lives and livelihoods have been destroyed by the storm, please do.

Here’s how:

  • Contribute to HeadKnowles’ RBC Bahamas account #05745-2883452
  • Deliver donations to Island Cellular in Palmdale, Nassau
Southwestern Bahamas Devastated by Hurricane Irma - Here's How You Can Help

Photo courtesy of the Team Cooper/Chester Cooper Facebook page

Many Bahamians have lost their homes and livelihoods. Please help if you can.

 

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