Florida breathed a sigh of relief as Hurricane Dorian took an abrupt right turn northwards instead of slamming into the state. Several of the islands in the Bahamas were not so fortunate as this Category 5 on a scale of 1-5 hurricane, spent hours upon hours over Abaco, and one end of Grand Bahama.
Dreadful images are now appearing of the damage done to those islands. We hope and pray that those of us with the ability to do so, will give hard cash to disaster relief organizations so that those people can get their lives rebuilt quickly.
What can withstand sustained winds of 185 miles per hour with gusts of 220? If you recall Hurricane Andrew in 1992 was also a Category 5. It leveled a lot of Homestead, near to Miami – and it also caused major damage on some of the Bahamas. And a Category 5 hit the Panhandle last year, less than an hour west of Tallahassee. So much rebuilding, years upon years to get back to “normal” after a Cat. 5 disaster.
But here’s something we need to remember, and tell everyone…there are 700 islands in the Bahamas. They cover hundreds of miles from the southern tip of Florida all the way down to Haiti. Many of us are familiar with Grand Bahama, Paradise Island Atlantis and Providence because cruise ships go there from Florida and we have some experience with them. But the Bahamas is still open for business! Nassau is open! Eleuthera is open! Andros, Exumas…all these islands are open for business because they did NOT sustain major damage.
The Bahamas gets 60% of it’s $9 billion economy from tourism dollars. If we really want to help them long term, we should spread the word that they need tourists to continue to vacation in the Bahamas. We can open our cheque book right now and support the disaster relief humanitarian effort. And we absolutely should. And we can help the folks who are able to work on the other islands maintain their dignity and their JOBS by supporting the tourist industry on those islands. It’s part of the circle of recovery.