A time for giving

The stories of survival have been extraordinary. The residents of the northern Bahamas endured an ordeal that will not soon be forgotten.

Hurricane Dorian turned into a powerful Category 5 hurricane and decimated the Abacos and Grand Bahama. The storm surge was unprecedented. Entire homes washed away. The official death toll is 50 and it is rising every day.

The stories of loss, of death, have been beyond heartbreaking.

Our people who are suffering are in need of help. They need the help of those of us who are doing well. They need the help of those of us who have homes; who have food; who have plenty.

Bahamians have and must continue to step up and assist in every way they can. We should donate to reputable charitable organizations. We should volunteer. We should take aid directly to those places if we have the means to do so.

Many of the residents of Grand Bahama and the Abacos are evacuating to New Providence. This gives us here the capacity to clothe, feed and house them. There are hundreds of churches on New Providence. There are scores of civic organizations. Each should find a way to give, to help.

There is no compassion in screaming and shouting this Sunday about the afterlife in a comfortable, air-conditioned church, when so many Bahamians have nothing to eat. It makes no sense going to your civic organization’s weekly meeting this week in a posh restaurant, eating good food and having a good time, when efforts could be better spent giving.

We have a serious problem in The Bahamas with disorganization. This tragedy is exposing this weakness in our culture. The government seems fragmented and leaderless on multiple levels. Some response agencies have been slow to act. This should not stop us from helping. Citizens groups are leading the way. There are ways to create a way to help if no path clearly exists.

The struggle to help restore our people in the north will not end in days or weeks. The restoration effort will take a long time. Be sure you are not a spectator to tragedy. Give. Get involved.

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