GENEVA, SWITZERLAND - U.N. humanitarian agencies are shifting efforts away from emergency aid to longer-term recovery assistance for Hurricane Dorian survivors in the Bahamas.
Aid agencies rushed life-saving aid into the Bahamas after Hurricane Dorian, a deadly Category 5 storm, devastated the islands early this month. The toll from this disaster is huge.
Latest U.N. reports put the number of dead at 53, including 600 missing. Hurricane-force winds, torrential rains and storm surges flattened homes and destroyed infrastructure, rendering about 76,000 people homeless.
Chief of Press and External Relations at the U.N. in Geneva Rheal LeBlanc said the Bahamian government is now shifting emergency efforts to recovery. He told VOA the U.N. and its partners are providing humanitarian assistance to the most vulnerable and displaced in support of the government-led response.
"As of Wednesday, the U.N. humanitarian organizations had supported the government in delivering over 350,000 meals, 135,000 liters of water, health services, debris removal, waste management, temporary housing and other items. So, the efforts do continue."
The International Organization for Migration reports it is scaling up its operations to help survivors of Hurricane Dorian. It said it will distribute essential household items to displaced families, support debris removal and reach out to tens of thousands of displaced in less-affected areas of the country.
IOM spokesman Joel Millman saif his agency will manage shelters, provide equipment to collective centers for upgrades and repairs to existing buildings.
"Where families can return to their homes or require tools and materials to carry out small-scale rehabilitation, IOM will provide toolkits and necessary training to family members. This intervention will prevent the overcrowding of collective centers and support households returning home as quickly as possible, when safe to do so."
Millman said IOM is able to increase its support to Hurricane Dorian survivors thanks to a $1.9 million grant from the U.S. Agency for International Development and the United Nations Central Emergency Response Fund.