October 20, 2019 – FROM DISTRIBUTING CRITICALLY NEEDED EMERGENCY ITEMS TO PROVIDING CLEAN WATER TO CARING FOR INJURED AND SICK PATIENTS, OUR TEAMS ARE SERVING IN JESUS’ NAME.
Roland counted 15 dead bodies floating in the water the day after Hurricane Dorian finally released the Abaco Islands from its deadly grip. The storm completely flattened every home in Roland’s neighbourhood.
“Nothing is here. I have no place to live. I have no job,” he said.
The restaurant where Roland worked is gone. The church where he leads Bible study and sometimes preaches is barely standing.
During the storm, Roland and his family took shelter at the church along with about 300 other people. But when the roof started ripping off and the water was almost waist high, they knew they were in trouble.
While the eye of the hurricane passed over, Roland and the group at the church fled to a nearby government building. If they had not relocated to a safer structure, Roland can’t bear to think of the likely outcome.
“God saved us. Only God saved us,” he said. “Some church members died because they didn’t evacuate. Some members, we don’t even know where they are.”
Samaritan’s Purse provided Roland and the church, which is a community distribution centre, with emergency relief items including hygiene kits, tarp, and solar lights. “Thank you for everything you do for us,” Roland said. “It’s a blessing.”
Samaritan’s Purse continues to serve families in the Bahamas more than one month after the Category 5 storm devastated the islands.
Our DC-8 cargo plane recently made its 18th trip to the Bahamas, having now delivered a total of 360 tonnes of critically needed emergency relief supplies. We are distributing heavy-duty shelter material (tarp), hygiene kits, kitchen kits, generators, blankets, jerry cans, and solar lights. We have also supplied more than 400,000 litres of clean water.
In addition to ongoing distributions from our base at Marsh Harbour in the Abacos, we are transporting emergency relief items by helicopter to numerous remote communities.
Recently, Samaritan’s Purse volunteers began working on Man-O-War Cay, one of the hardest-hit areas on the Abacos. Volunteers are covering roofs, clearing debris, and doing mud-outs at flooded homes.
Our Emergency Field Hospital also remains up and running in Freeport as our team of medical specialists provides quality treatment, including surgical care, for patients in desperate need. To date, we have seen more than 5,200 patients since the hospital opened on 10 Sept.
Clean Water for Hurricane Survivors
About one hour from Marsh Harbour is Coopers Town, where our team has set up a desalination unit for a community that had already been weeks without clean water for drinking, bathing, cooking, and washing clothes.
“We can’t do without the water. We need water for everything,” said Adella, who came to our water site several times to fill up jerry cans.
Adella rode out Hurricane Dorian at a friend’s house and they thought the terror would never cease. “The ceiling started to cave in, walls were coming apart, sheetrock was falling. The storm kept going and going and going,” she said.
On Grand Bahama Island, which lies 80-plus miles west of the Abacos, Ken Barr-Smith also hunkered down at home. As mayor of West End, the island’s capital, he didn’t want to leave behind elderly residents who weren’t able to evacuate. “I was so afraid,” Ken said. “We didn’t realise what the magnitude of the storm would be.”
Ken is grateful to Samaritan’s Purse for providing water and bringing hope to his hometown. “This is a really big help. We really appreciate it.”
Samaritan’s Purse set up our clean water tap stands on the grounds of a local medical clinic in West End. The tap stands not only serve residents, but also allowed the clinic to operate in the storm’s immediate aftermath.
“West End is a close community. I get to know patients personally,” said Dr. Alicia Genuino.
Dr. Alicia explained that many in West End were still trying to recover from Hurricane Matthew three years ago when Dorian knocked them down again. She said receiving water from Samaritan’s Purse is a huge encouragement to this struggling community.
Hospital Patients Trust God
After Freeport’s main hospital was damaged during the hurricane, we airlifted our Emergency Field Hospital at the request of the World Health Organisation and the Bahamas government.
A stroke brought Zek, a local pastor, to our hospital by ambulance as he was unable to speak or to walk. Our medical team ran tests, provided medication, and worked with Zek and his wife Judy to figure out the next steps for his recovery.
Judy explained that only the week before they had been fighting for their lives during Hurricane Dorian. The couple, along with family members and neighbours, tried to escape from their neighbourhood in the church bus.
“The water was so high the bus was starting to float, so we went to a shelter and spent the night on the second floor. It was a long, long night.”
When they returned home, Judy realised they were facing a long road of recovery. “No one was safe,” she said. “All the houses in our neighbourhood were damaged. My appliances were floating in the water.”
But they aren’t giving up. Judy is trusting God that Zek will recover and one day be able to preach again and to hold their newborn granddaughter.
Carla, another patient, also arrived not long after our hospital opened. Carla had stepped on a nail and her toe and foot were infected to the point that she not only needed antibiotics, but also several surgeries. “The nurses and doctors are amazing. They prayed with me and comforted me. They encourage you in the Lord,” Carla said.
Carla arrived at the hospital so dehydrated that our teams had to administer an IV before they could do surgery. She had been without food or water for about two days while she was trapped in her home during the hurricane.
Carla is grateful to God for saving her life and meeting her physical and spiritual needs at the Samaritan’s Purse hospital.
“Faith in Christ makes us strong,” she said. “You get through by the grace of God.”
To DONATE to Samaritan’s Purse: https://www.samaritans-purse.org.uk/article/samaritans-purse-continues-work-in-the-devastated-bahamas/#donate
SOURCE: SAMARITAN’S PURSE
National Food Policy to be created in the Bahamas
By Shanieka Smith
#TheBahamas, February 2, 2023 – A new initiative by the Ministry of Agriculture, Marine Resources and Family Island Affairs in the Bahamas will see the creation of a National Food Policy geared towards ensuring food security on the island.
“This agricultural policy would encompass a holistic approach and incorporate regulations, legislation, and other aspects to assist the farmers who have not really gotten the attention they deserve for a long time,” said the Minister of Agriculture, Marine Resources and Family Island Affairs, Hon. Clay Sweeting.
Other initiatives within the agriculture sector will also be implemented, such as the digitalization of applications and forms, which will make farming more efficient.
Clay said, “we have already digitalized for the most part the Department of Marine Resources and soon we will unveil new services such as dog licences, import permits, and other services needed for a successful agricultural sector.”
The construction of the Cultivation Centres (TCC) in Eleuthera and New Providence with produce exchange, food processing kitchens and farm stores will continue.
Sweeting said he hopes these initiatives will help to decrease the country’s yearly $1 billion food import bill.
Consumer protection, 85 businesses to be put under watch
By Dana Malcolm
February 2, 2023 – Grocery stores and dozens of other businesses will be under the microscope soon as the government begins aggressively enforcing the Consumer Protection Ordinance passed back in 2016 with an all-new Compliance and Regulatory Enforcement (C.A.R.E) Drive.
Carried out by the Department of Trade, Industry, and Fair Competition the drive aims to “actively educate providers whilst enforcing the main provisions to protect consumers under the Consumer Protection Ordinance,” a press release explained.
Firstly, Consumer Officers charged with protecting the people of the TCI from unfair business practices will be assessing the prices of selected breadbasket items in 23 different stores countrywide each month to see whether price gouging is being carried out by businesses.
Breadbasket items are currently duty-free under the Food and Fuel Tax Break until the end of the financial year in March and all savings from those tax exemptions should be passed on directly to the consumer. After each assessment, which will continue for several months at least a monthly price report will be published on the Department of Trade’s website.
In addition, the Consumer Officers will be monitoring other business activities across the country “to ensure that providers are compliant with their duties to consumers.”
Those responsibilities include:
- Giving customers certain basic information about goods and services being sold;
- Informing consumers about terms and conditions before any payment is made (e.g., warranties, refunds, returns, exchanges, etc.) and;
- Abstaining from misleading and deceptive conduct, false representation and unfair business practices.
The government says they will reach at least 85 businesses with the C.A.R.E. Drive but they did not indicate the process behind how these businesses had been singled out. Non-compliant ones will be fined after a thorough investigation and warnings are issued by the Department of Trade.
With this in mind, business owners are being encouraged to familiarize themselves with their duties under the Ordinance lest they be caught in breach. The government did not say what entities would be assessed and whether that included major retail grocery stores, gasoline dealers, water companies, electricity providers, telecommunications companies and other essential providers of the services that all islanders spend on.
74 Foreign Nationals Convicted in The Magistrate’s Court
#TheBahamas, February 2, 2023 – In Magistrate’s Court #1 today, seventy-two (72) foreign nationals were arraigned before Magistrate Algernon Allen Jr. for various immigration offenses.
Thirty-two (32) Cuban nationals were convicted of Illegal Landing. Two (2) of them were subsequently sentenced to four months in the Bahamas Department of Correctional Services (BDOCS). Thirty (30) were conditionally discharged and released to the Department of Immigration to be deported.
A total of forty (40) Haitian nationals were convicted of Illegal Landing. Two (2) received custodial sentences of three months at BDOCS, and thirty-seven (37) were conditionally discharged and released to the Department to be deported. In addition to the charge of Illegal Landing, one (1) Haitian man was also convicted of Knowingly Attempting to Misleading an Immigration Officer and subsequently sentenced to six months at BDOCS on each count. The sentences are to run concurrently.
Three (3) Haitian nationals were also charged with Overstaying. Two (2) pleaded guilty and were convicted. Respectively they were fined $2,000.00 or, in default of payment, served six months at BDOCS, conditionally discharged, and deported. One (1) Haitian female pleaded not guilty, and the matter was adjourned to a later date. Upon payment of fines, completion of sentences, and discharge, all persons were ordered to be turned over to the Department of Immigration for deportation.
The Department remains committed to executing our mandate to ensure compliance with the Statue Laws of our country.
For more information, call the Public Relations Unit at 1-242-322-7530, visit our website at www.immigration.gov.bs, or call our Investigation hotline anonymously, at 1-242-604-0249.
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