Samaritan’s Purse is helping families and churches in the Bahamas move forward after 2019’s devastating storm.
A year after Hurricane Dorian battered the northern Bahamas, Samaritan’s Purse continues to provide families, churches, and communities with physical relief and hope in Jesus’ Name.
Hurricane Dorian was a Category 5 storm with maximum sustained winds of 185 mph when it slammed into the islands of Grand Bahama and the Abacos. The hurricane killed dozens of people in the Bahamas and destroyed thousands of buildings.
For residents like Ruth Smith, it’s been a painful journey to a place she can call home again. Her home is one of more than 600 that Samaritan’s Purse has repaired on the islands in the past year.
“I can’t thank you enough,” she said. “My heart is truly grateful. You made available where we can now again call home and find rest.”
Aided by volunteers from our North American Ministries team, Samaritan’s Purse tarped and constructed hundreds of roofs in Grand Bahamas and the Abacos.
Al Sawyer and his family are grateful for their new roof in the Marsh Harbour community on Abaco that made it possible for them to return home. “With this roof, you get a sense of moving forward,” Al said. “You can start putting your life together again.”
Offering Hope to the Weary
The longing for home speaks to the emotional toll that disasters take. That’s why Samaritan’s Purse launched a Hazard Outreach Preparedness and Empowerment (HOPE) program to train local church leaders in disaster response and trauma recovery. The program equips churches to provide support to hurting communities no matter what the disaster—whether an individual house fire or a widespread hurricane—through interactive training sessions. We provided similar HOPE training to church leaders in Dominica following Hurricane Maria.
“Thank the Lord for Samaritan’s Purse who’s done so much to help us get back on our feet,” said Robinson Weatherford, pastor of International Gospel Mission in Marsh Harbour.
We repaired the church’s hurricane-damaged roof, ceiling, windows, and doors. This is one of six churches in Marsh Harbour that we have assisted with building repairs.
“It’s really a blessing to see how God has used even the bad storm to bring people together and to allow people to be part of the recovery, to be part of the healing, to lend a helping hand,” he said.
Bethany Gospel Chapel of Murphy Town, a division of Marsh Harbour, is serving as one of our community water points on the island. We’ve placed two 1,000-liter water tanks that we fill weekly with clean water.
“This storm has given the opportunity, working through you all, to share the Gospel of Christ,” said Bishop Bert Livingstone Williams Jr.
More than 21,000 liters of water are delivered to 14 different points like this one throughout greater Abaco each week, while nearly 80,000 liters a week are distributed to nine different churches around Freeport on Grand Bahama Island.
To date, we have distributed over 4.3 million liters of clean water in the Bahamas since Hurricane Dorian and also provided water pumps to four schools. At all these water points, we are taking precautions against the spread of COVID-19 through hands-free hand-washing stations, disinfecting taps, and preventative education signs.
Serving in Jesus’ Name
Samaritan’s Purse was one of the first organizations on-site in the Bahamas following Hurricane Dorian. Our DC-8 cargo jet made 18 round trips carrying 360 metric tons of emergency relief supplies to the northern islands. Once there, we transported supplies to the hardest-hit islands by barge, helicopter, and plane.
In early September 2019, we airlifted our Emergency Field Hospital to Freeport and staffed it with our Disaster Assistance Response Team (DART) for two months to help support Rand Memorial Hospital, which had sustained hurricane damage.
In addition, Samaritan’s Purse cleared 67,000 cubic meters of storm debris on the Abacos, filling 67 barges with the equivalent of nearly 18 million liquid gallons, to help communities rebuild from the hurricane.
“Samaritan’s Purse may work with the rubble and destruction, but what they really do is help heal the spirit and souls of the people,” said Neil Arbury, a longtime resident of Man-O-War Cay. “Samaritan’s Purse helped carry us when there was no strength left to stand.”
“Samaritan’s Purse helped carry us when there was no strength left to stand.”
Many on the islands have carried a heavy weight of worry through another hurricane season compounded by the stress of the COVID-19 global pandemic. Please pray for our staff and ministry partners as they share the eternal hope of the Lord Jesus Christ while helping people in need.
“Pray for the people of the Bahamas as they continue this road of recovery,” said Daniel Ruiz, Samaritan’s Purse deputy country director in the Bahamas. “We’re grateful for your prayers and support as we continue this work in Jesus’ Name.”