Hurricane Dorian caused widespread destruction to the island of Abaco as it tore through the Bahamian island in September2019 as a category five storm, leaving families with significant damage to their homes.
The Red Cross supported people living in the most-affected areas by replacing household items and providing grants of over $10,000 to fund home repairs. Alongside our partner, CORE, we gave technical and material support to help residents repair their Hurricane Dorian damaged homes. Personnel from CORE and the Red Cross helped homeowners do a full evaluation and navigate repairs to roofs, walls, electrical systems, plumbing and sanitation systems and replacing windows.
As of May 2021, 300 homes had been repaired through this program putting hundreds of families back into safe and secure homes with financial support of more than $1.2 million from the American Red Cross.
By focusing on a community-based approach, the Red Cross empowered people to make decisions and have control over the future of their home while helping guide them through the repair process. As more and more homeowners made progress, the island collectively saw improvement at the community level. Repaired homes meant more locals were returning and continuing their daily lives on the island.
Samantha Curry and her family are doing most of the repair work to their home themselves. During Hurricane Dorian, she says her family waited until they were in the eye of the storm and then ran down the street to her mother’s house because they thought they might be safer there. She huddled with her family in a bathtub and waited for the storm to pass.
“It was scary,” she said. When she saw her home after Dorian, she says it felt horrible to see the damage. “I was sitting crying, wondering ‘what happens next?”
But relief came when she got money from the Red Cross to buy materials to repair the home.
“Help from the Red Cross went a long, long way,” she said, not only for her home but for her friends and neighbors, too. She says it was noticeable to see others making progress and together the community is healing. Her motivation is her children and wanting to get them back in their house, so she is working hard to get it done, and is so grateful to the Red Cross for helping to make it happen.
As a schoolteacher, Ruby Rolle is used to taking care of others. When Dorian crawled across the Bahamas, there were 15 people keeping shelter at her house. Ruby and her husband, a retired teacher, welcomed those into their home who needed a place to go. They tried to facilitate a comforting place to ride out the storm, but that didn’t stop Dorian from ripping the roof off and flooding her home with water.
“We basically had nothing,” Ruby said since they did not have insurance. The financial help from the Red Cross for home repairs helped her make repairs enough to move back in and feel at home once again after experiencing the horrors of Dorian.
“I am very appreciative of what the Red Cross has done for us. Thank you, thank you on behalf of me and my husband for the help you gave us.”
AMERICAN RED CROSS RESPONSE Thanks to the incredible generosity of the American public, the Red Cross has been able to directly support the people whose lives were most deeply disrupted by Dorian. More than one year later, the American Red Cross has never stopped working in the Bahamas. Donations to the Red Cross allowed us to put cash right back into the hands of local people so they could choose exactly what they needed for themselves. We gave out emergency supplies, food and clean water to thousands of families and are helping with long term recovery by providing cash grants to repair homes and businesses. Together with partners, the Red Cross is helping to be the bridge to comfort and hope following a life-changing disaster.