Cayman Rotarians send hurricane relief supplies to Bahamas

Rotarians load 20 pallets of hurricane relief supplies sent from Cayman Rotary clubs on trucks at the airport in the Bahamas.

Cayman Rotary Club members sent 20 pallets of hurricane relief supplies to their fellow Rotarians in the Bahamas on Friday.

The supplies went to local agencies working on the cleanup and to Rotary clubs in the Bahamas to help with their relief efforts. The Bahamas has not reported any deaths from Hurricane Matthew, which passed through the islands last week, but the Category 4 storm caused hundreds of millions of dollars in damage.

Eight Bahamasair planes, which came to Owen Roberts International Airport to wait out the storm, took the pallets of water, food and other essentials back to Nassau on Friday.

A. L. Thompson, former president of the Rotary Club of Central Cayman Islands, said in a press release, “Think about what you needed after Hurricane Ivan. Everything, right? Our neighbors to the north are in the same situation and it’s now our turn to become the givers.”

The release from Cayman Rotary states, “Thanks to an amazing effort between Bahamas Customs, Nassau Airport Development, Bahamasair and the tireless porters, we carted out 20 pallets of supplies through the International Arrivals luggage lounge to the three Rotary trucks.”

According to the Bahamas Tribune newspaper, Prime Minister Perry Christie estimated the costs of the recovery could end up being three to four times greater than the $100 million in damage from Hurricane Joaquin last year.

During a Sunday press conference, according to the newspaper, Mr. Christie said, “Enormous damage has been inflicted on thousands of Bahamians, who were not so affected in such number with Hurricane Joaquin.”

The storm caused major damage to buildings across many of the islands. “In West Grand Bahama, everyone got hit. Some homes fell flat to the ground. In Port Lucaya, the marketplace roof peeled right off. It looks like an earthquake around here almost,” Freeport, Bahamas, administrator Preston Cunningham said in a statement over the weekend.

Cayman’s relief efforts to help Haiti and Cuba continue this week. A joint effort between the Cayman Islands Brewery, government and Saxon Insurance plans to send a plane full of supplies to Haiti on Tuesday, and the Cayman Islands Red Cross is collecting money to help with the international organization’s efforts on Hispaniola.