Thriving After Hurricanes
If there is anything that can be learned from Hurricane Dorian, it is that Bahamians are resilient people. In September 2019, The Bahamas were hit by the most destructive storm in recorded history amounting to around $3.4 billion in damage. The hardest hit was Abaco Island, with our home island of Grand Bahama also suffering significant damage. Almost a year on, we continue to rebuild and grow stronger as a nation united but still remembering those lives tragically lost. In this blog, we’ll talk about the ways the islands have survived and thrived since the hurricane and what more we can all do to help where it is needed.
The Bahamas isn’t a stranger to tropical storms. Sitting on the western edge of the Atlantic Ocean, the island chain receives a variety of powerful weather events from the open sea. The nation was the first Commonwealth country to implement a national building code in 1971, and it is said to be the best in the Caribbean. However, no building code could have prepared us for the power of Dorian. Typically, the hurricane season occurs between June and November, which coincides with the wet season on the islands. Before Dorian, Hurricane Andrew was the largest storm to hit the nation in 1992. While causing significant damage to The Bahamas, Andrew was particularly felt in Florida. On an average year, Freeport on Grand Bahama will receive around 60 inches of rain, mostly in the wet season.
While the monster Category 5 storm wasn’t the first to hit The Bahamas, it caused the most damage that the islands have ever seen. Unpredictable in direction and its slow-moving nature meant that the storm battered the Bahamian islands for three consecutive days. Winds reached up to 185 miles per hour (298km/h), water levels rose between 18 and 23 feet, and up to two feet of rain poured down on the lower-lying islands. The Abaco and Grand Bahama islands were the hardest hit by the storm, with 74 lives tragically lost, 245 persons are reported missing (undocumented aliens may affect these numbers) and widespread damage. Although Dorian wreaked havoc on the islands, the ability for the Bahamian people to rebuild and thrive with great assistance from outside the country is a true testament to their resilience and strength.
Now over a year since the storm, The Bahamas have made a mammoth recovery effort. Money has been distributed for small businesses, reconstruction of infrastructure, water systems and hospitals, insurance payouts for families and businesses, and even a temporary structure for the previously world-class Grand Bahama Airport has been created while the agreement for the construction of the new airport is finalised. If The Bahamas hadn’t been through enough already, the impact of the pandemic has seen a lot of the progress restricted for safety and hygiene regulations.
How Can You Help?
There are so many ways that you can help The Bahamas continue to thrive after Dorian. With tourism being such an important part of the nation’s economy, contributing to the industry is the perfect way to give back while also getting something in return. Even though traveling isn’t possible for everyone right now, we are still offering virtual tours so that you can get a taste of The Bahamas in your own home. Take a look at our cooking classes, cultural experiences, and cocktail class with an island hopping journey for more details.