Hurricane Dorian has slipped off the North American coastline after leaving a wake of death and destruction, primarily in the Bahamas.
Prior to landfall, Florida Sea Base staff stationed in St. Thomas and St. Croix were evacuated to safety and crews to those areas were called off, says Tim Stanfill, Sea Base Director of Program Operations.
Marsh Harbour on Great Abaco Island, where the Sea Base hosts its Bahamas Sailing Adventures, saw destructive wind gusts of more than 200 mph and storm surge of more than 20 feet. The catastrophic storm slowed down over the islands, destroying many homes and infrastructure, and killing more than 40 people.
The marina Sea Base operates from, along with the entirety of the Abacos was left decimated.
Without a base of operation, Sea Base will likely not be able to offer spring Bahamas Sailing Adventures in 2020. The Sea Base’s goal is to place every Bahamas spring crew that had planned a trip in another adventure on or around the same date originally planned. If you had a trip planned, Sea Base will be reaching out to you to provide more details.
Plans for summer crews in the Bahamas are still being assessed based on relief and rebuilding efforts.
Immediately after the storm, Troops 323 and 4323, based in the Central Florida Council, jumped into action, organizing a multiple-day relief drive. Scouts collected, sorted, packed and transported about 100,000 pounds of supplies to the local airport to be shipped to the Bahamas, says Daniel Whitmore, a Scouter with Troop 323.
“These Scouts worked 10- to 12-hour days in the 90-degree Florida heat without complaint,” Whitmore says.
It is estimated that tens of thousands of people in the Bahamas need humanitarian aid.
With any natural disaster, there’s always a desire to rush to the area impacted to help. This might not be the best course of action as you could be interfering with first responders, while putting yourself and your Scouts in danger.
One safe way to help, as detailed in this Scouting magazine article, is to contact other relief organizations like the American Red Cross to find out what they need.
You can also giving to the BSA Emergency Relief Fund, which can help sustain Scouting in devastated areas.