Hurricane Dorian, which hit the Bahamas earlier this week, has caused extensive destruction and devastation. The official death toll stands at 30, but the country’s government is warning that the final total will be ‘staggering’, with reports of hundreds, possibly thousands of people, still missing.
As many as 13,000 houses have been severely damaged or destroyed, leaving many people without shelter – around 17,000 children and their families now require urgent humanitarian assistance. The full extent of the hurricane’s impact is likely to include significant damage to health facilities and water and sanitation infrastructure, bringing a heightened risk of disease.
The United Grand Lodge of England has been in contact with the District Grand Lodge of Bahamas and Turks, which has experienced ‘extensive devastation as a result of this hurricane.’
The District reports: ‘harrowing stories of Brethren and their families having to abandon their homes and run or swim to safety… many have suffered damage to their property with some experiencing complete loss.’
The Masonic Charitable Foundation is in direct contact with UNICEF and has already committed £20,000 towards the overall relief effort. This donation will provide humanitarian aid to affected children and families, with a special focus on water, sanitation and hygiene.
In addition, Freemasons in the District, with support from the Grand Lodge of Florida, are coordinating a local relief effort to supply water, food and other resources to the affected areas.