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.
This is Ragged Island, in the southwest Bahamas.
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.
Acklins, Bimini and even Grand Bahama have all suffered damage. And the effects on Ragged Island have been nothing short of catastrophic.
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.”
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.
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.
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.
- Donate to HeadKnowles via this YouCaring page.
- Contribute to HeadKnowles’ RBC Bahamas account #05745-2883452
- Deliver donations to Island Cellular in Palmdale, Nassau