Desperation mounts in Bahamas as shelters turn evacuees away

Image: Ramon Espinosa

Image: Ramon Espinosa

By Dánica Coto

NASSAU, Bahamas (AP) — Desperation mounted in the Bahamas on Tuesday as hurricane survivors arriving in the capital by boat and plane were turned away from overflowing shelters.

As government officials gave assurances at a news conference that more shelters would be opened as needed, Julie Green and her family gathered outside the headquarters of the island’s emergency management agency, seeking help.

“We need a shelter desperately,” the 35-year-old former waitress from Great Abaco said as she cradled one of her 7-month-old twins on her hip, his little face furrowed. Nearby, her husband held the other twin boy as their four other children wandered listlessly nearby. One kept crying despite receiving comforting hugs.

Hurricane Dorian devastated the Abaco and Grand Bahama islands in the northern part of the archipelago a week ago, leaving at least 50 dead, with the toll certain to rise as the search for bodies goes on.

Nearly 5,000 people have arrived in Nassau by plane and by boat, and many were struggling to start new lives, unclear of how or where to begin. More than 2,000 of them were staying in shelters, according to government figures.

Green said that shelter officials told her they couldn’t accept such young children, and that the family has slept in the home of a different person every night since arriving Friday in New Providence, the island where Nassau is situated.

“We’re just exhausted,” she said. “We’re just walking up and down, asking people if they know where we can stay.”

Erick Noel, a 37-year-old landscaper from Abaco with a wife and four children, found himself in the same situation. They will have to leave a friend’s house by Wednesday and had not yet found a shelter where they could stay.

“They are full, full, full,” he said. “I keep looking for a place to go.”

He said he found one small home for his family in Nassau but could not afford the $900 monthly rent. Undeterred, Noel said he would keep searching.

Meanwhile, government officials said they were helping all evacuees and considering building temporary housing, perhaps tent or container cities.

“We are dealing with a disaster,” said Carl Smith, spokesman for the Bahamas’ National Emergency Management Agency. “It takes time to move through the chaos. We are responding to the needs.”

The government has estimated that up to 10,000 people from the Abacos alone will need food, water and temporary housing.

Getting back to Abaco is the dream of Betty Edmond, a 43-year-old cook who picked at some fries with her son and husband in a restaurant at a Nassau hotel, where her nephew is paying for their stay.

Continue Reading at apnews.com

Dorian Makes Landfall In Carolinas As "Pillaging, Looting" Begins In The Bahamas

Image: zerohedge.com

Image: zerohedge.com

By Tyler Durden

Despite being downgraded to Category 1, winds still reached up to 90mph as Hurricane Dorian blew ashore at Cape Hatteras, making its first landfall on the U.S. mainland, flooding homes in the low-lying ribbon of islands and throwing a scare into year-round residents who tried to tough it out.

“It’s bad,” Ann Warner, who owns Howard’s Pub on Ocracoke Island, said by telephone. “The water came up to the inside of our bottom floor, which has never had water.” She said a skylight blew out and whitecaps coursed through her front yard and underneath her elevated house.

“We’re safe,” Warner added. “But it’s certainly a mess.”

As of this morning, Dorian was moving northeast at 14 mph (22 kph). It is expected to remain a hurricane as it sweeps up the Eastern Seaboard on Friday and Saturday, far enough offshore that its hurricane-force winds are unlikely to reach land.

While the damage was far less than feared in many parts of the Carolinas, the 'warzone' left behind in the Bahamas is getting worse by the day.

"There's just no way everyone's going to get out," says a woman fleeing Hurricane Dorian in the Bahamas, adding that people are trying to shoot each other for supplies.

"It's just total devastation... there's nothing left," exclaims one woman as she tries to flee the islands. "People are starting to panic... pillaging, looting, trying to shoot people for food..."

Continue Reading: zerohedge.com

‘Like zombies’: Hurricane’s victims face heartbreak and loss

Image: Al Diaz/Miami Herald via AP

Image: Al Diaz/Miami Herald via AP

By Michael Weissenstein

ABACO, Bahamas (AP) — Lugging empty suitcases, plastic buckets and backpacks, dazed survivors of Hurricane Dorian made their way back to the shantytown where they used to live, hoping to gather up some of their soggy belongings.

The community was known as The Mudd, and it was built by thousands of Haitian migrants over decades. It was razed in a matter of hours by Dorian, which ripped apart the shelters and scattered splintered plywood and two-by-fours for miles.

A helicopter buzzed overhead Thursday as people picked through the debris, avoiding a body that lay tangled underneath a tree branch next to twisted sheets of corrugated metal, its hands stretched toward the sky. It was one of at least nine bodies that people said they had seen in the area.

“Ain’t nobody come to get them,” said Cardot Ked, a 43-year-old carpenter from Haiti who has lived 25 years in Abaco. “If we could get to the next island, that’s the best thing we can do.”

Ked was one of thousands of desperate people seeking help in Dorian’s aftermath. With winds of 185 mph (295 kph), the hurricane obliterated houses on the Bahamas’ Abaco and Grand Bahama islands, home to some 70,000 people. The official death toll from the government stood at 20 and was certain to climb.

Search-and-rescue operations and an international humanitarian effort to help the victims picked up speed, with emergency officials fanning out across the stricken areas and tracking down people who were missing or in distress. Crews began clearing streets and setting up distribution centers for food and water.

Continue reading and view images at apnews.com

Bahamas Blockchain Company Raises Crypto for Hurricane Dorian Relief

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By Joeri Cant

PO8, a blockchain company headquartered in the Bahamas, is asking the crypto and blockchain communities to help them bring relief to the victims of Hurricane Dorian. The firm made its appeal in a blog post on Sept. 2.

Devastation in the Bahamas

Hurricane Dorian brought devastation to Bahamas islands on Monday and Tuesday. Satellite images show the region has suffered heavy flooding, with more than 60% of Grand Bahama Island submerged. 

Call to help Dorian victims

PO8 has witnessed the devastation firsthand and is asking the crypto and blockchain communities to help rebuild and restore the islands most affected. A recent post on the PO8 website said:

“PO8 has pledged 1 billion PO8 tokens to hurricane relief efforts. For every dollar worth of crypto donation, PO8 will match it 100%.”

Crypto donations can be made with Bitcoin or Ethereum (ETH). Cash donations can also be made on the PO8 GoFundMe page.

PO8’s blockchain platform aims to democratize access to marine archeological artifacts by establishing their provenance and preventing their sale.

Charity and crypto

Cryptocurrency and blockchain technology are increasingly being applied for charitable efforts. Following the Notre Dame cathedral fire earlier this year, France’s Minister of State for the Digital Sector Cédric O said he was open to cooperating with cryptocurrency platforms for donations to reconstruct the cathedral.

In an August report, independent public charity Fidelity Charitable said that it has received $100 million in cryptocurrency donations since it began accepting cryptocurrency in 2015.

Via: Cointelegraph.com

Hurricane Dorian strengthens as Florida prepares for impact

Dorian_Geostationary_VIS-IR_2019.jpg

By Zachary Fagenson

MIAMI (Reuters) - Residents of Florida on Friday were boarding up windows and stocking up on food, water and gas as Hurricane Dorian gained strength and slowly churned toward the U.S. mainland.

The storm has alarmed forecasters who worry parts of Florida will be walloped by strong winds, a storm surge and heavy rain for an extended period when it makes landfall early next week. 

The Miami-based National Hurricane Center said Dorian was expected to continue strengthening and remain an “extremely dangerous major hurricane” as it moves northwest near the Bahamas and approaches the Florida peninsula. 

Florida Governor Ron DeSantis urged residents to have at least a week’s worth of food, water and medicine, saying at a news conference in Tallahassee that they should be prepared for a “multiday event.” Florida is under a declaration of emergency. 

“They’re buying everything, everything and anything that applies to a hurricane, flashlights, batteries, generators,” said Amber Hunter, 30, assistant manager at the ACE Handiman hardware store in Cape Canaveral on Florida’s east coast. 

Hunter said generators were the most popular item. 

NHC Director Ken Graham urged Florida residents to have their preparations wrapped up on Sunday before tropical storm-force winds hit the coast that night. 

Employees at Conchy Joe’s Seafood in Jensen Beach on Florida’s east coast were boarding up windows and stripping bare the restaurant’s waterfront tiki bar on Friday before heading to their homes to make similar preparations.

“I’m planning on boarding up my house this evening,” said Jamison Weeks, the restaurant’s 38-year-old general manager. “The mood is a little tense, everybody’s a little nervous and just trying to prepare as best as possible.” 

Dorian is expected to bring a life-threatening storm surge that raises water levels by as much as 10 to 15 feet (3 to 4.5 meters) above normal levels in parts of the northwestern Bahamas, the NHC said in an advisory at 2 p.m. EDT (1800 GMT). Near the coast, the surge will be accompanied by large and destructive waves. 

“Almost everyone has left, or is leaving today,” said Pauline Powell, 26, who was on a family vacation at the Island Seas Resort in Grand Bahama when the storm started barreling toward the area’s pristine beaches. 

The Bahamas Ministry of Tourism and Aviation said hotels and resorts throughout that part of the island nation have activated hurricane response programs. The Grand Bahama International Airport in Freeport will close Friday night and will not open until Sept. 3, the ministry said in a statement.

‘REALLY WORRIED’ 

Dorian began on Friday over the Atlantic as a Category 2 hurricane on the five-step Saffir-Simpson Wind Scale but strengthened to a Category 3 later in the day. It had maximum sustained winds of 115 miles per hour (185 km per hour), according to the latest NHC advisory. 

If, as expected, Dorian reaches Category 4 strength over the weekend, its winds will blow at more than 130 mph (210 kph). It is currently moving at a pace of 10 miles per hour (16 km/h), giving it more time to intensify before making landfall. 

Forecasters predicted it will be over the northwestern Bahamas on Sunday and near the Florida peninsula late on Monday. It is projected to make landfall in South Florida and then head up through the central part of the state. 

Rainfall of about 6 to 12 inches (15 to 30 cm), with up to 18 inches (46 cm) in some areas of the northwestern Bahamas and Florida, is expected. 

“What’s concerning is it’s slowed down. We’re looking at a multiple-day event. We were hoping it would just barrel through and leave,” said Ben Malik, the mayor of Cocoa Beach, about 85 miles (136 km) north of Port St. Lucie.

“I’m really worried about the amount of rain we’ll be getting.” 

Some gas stations in Florida have run dry and others have long lines of cars, DeSantis said, adding that the state had eased regulations to allow higher-capacity trucks to transport fuel and to make it easier to bring in fuel from other states. 

Gasoline prices at the pump are not expected to spike because of the storm, said Patrick DeHaan, head of petroleum analysis at GasBuddy.com. 

“There are no refiners in Florida, there’s only a pipeline, and I can’t imagine that would be affected significantly. Fuel is flowing, and that’s the most important factor,” DeHaan said. 

Chevron Corp (CVX.N), the second-largest U.S.-based oil and natural gas producer, said it has begun evacuating non-essential personnel from two oil platforms in the U.S. Gulf of Mexico and has begun supplying “as much fuel as possible in advance of the storm” to its retail fuel outlets in the U.S. Southeast. 

Two thousand National Guard troops will have been mobilized for the hurricane by the end of Friday, with another 2,000 joining them on Saturday, Florida National Guard Major General James Eifert said. 

Florida officials also were making sure all nursing homes and assisted living facilities had generators, and were checking with more than 100 facilities where information about generators was uncertain. 

Only one in five Florida nursing homes plans to rely on deliveries of temporary generators to keep their air conditioners running if Dorian knocks out power, a state agency said on Friday, short of the standard set by a law passed after a dozen people died in a sweltering nursing home after 2017’s Hurricane Irma. 

Officials from the Federal Emergency Management Agency, which was harshly criticized in 2005 for its slow response to Hurricane Katrina and its aftermath, briefed Congress on Friday on the steps they are taking to prepare for Dorian. 

FEMA has begun moving personnel and equipment into Georgia, including trucks and line crews who would help get electricity back up and running if there is a serious service interruption in Florida, according to a Democratic aide in the U.S. House of Representatives familiar with the briefings. 

Georgia Governor Brian Kemp has declared a state of emergency in 12 counties in the state. 

President Donald Trump on Thursday canceled a planned weekend trip to Poland so he can make sure resources are properly directed for the storm. 

Dorian could churn across dozens of launchpads owned by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), the Air Force and companies such as Elon Musk’s SpaceX and Jeff Bezos’ Blue Origin.

Via Reuters.com