Heavy-duty vehicles donated to help Hurricane Dorian rebuilding efforts

Five heavy-duty, off-road vehicles have been donated to the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) to strengthen the recovery and resettlement efforts in the northern Bahamas following the passage of Hurricane Dorian.

The ROXOR vehicles, which are valued at $125,340, arrived at NEMA headquarters in New Providence on November 5 and will be distributed to Abaco and Grand Bahama to help with aid and relief efforts on those islands.

The vehicles were donated by Mahindra Automotive North America, Global X Sports and Tropicars in partnership with the Sandals Foundation.

Raymond Grobelny, general Manager at Tropicars, said the heavy-duty vehicles will bring added value to the work taking place along the islands’ rugged terrain.

“These powerful vehicles will help the relief and rebuilding efforts of the Bahamian government in a big way. They have turbo diesel engines, can tow 3,400 pounds and are equipped with a heavy duty Warn winches and LED lights, which will allow emergency crews to work around the clock and gives them the power needed to get the job done.”

Upon first glance of the vehicles, an elated Captain Stephen Russell, NEMA director, described the vehicles as “lovely”.

He noted that the generous donation will support the law enforcement, security and rescue support efforts on Grand Bahama and Abaco.

“We are indeed very thankful to the donors for their kind gesture in being one of the many who tremendously support NEMA’s and the government’s efforts in this recovery phase,” Captain Russell said.

The vehicles, he said, “will add to wide-ranging efforts as we seek to restore essential government services, provide housing for evacuees and restore and rebuild the communities impacted by the monster Category 5 hurricane”.

The Sandals Foundation has been a key partner of NEMA and other local government entities in the coordination of the relief and recovery response following the passage of the Category 5 storm.

Heidi Clarke, executive director at the Sandals Foundation, noted that the impact of the foundation was made possible because of a global network of partners, guests, well-wishers, travel agents and Sandals Resorts International.

“We are grateful for the very strong community of support that answered the call to respond to the relief effort needs in the northern Bahamas. So far, with the help of all our partners, the Sandals Foundation has been able to raise US$400,000 and provide relief in cash and kind at a total value of US$1.2 million.”

Clarke said moving forward the Sandals Foundation will be working, “closely with NEMA and the Bahamas Hotel and Tourism Association to identify long-term rebuilding projects in the areas of schools, children’s homes and health clinics”.

The Sandals Resorts were fortunate to be hundreds of miles away from the storm and as such, suffered no effects. This advantageous position offered a unique opportunity to mobilize efforts for help. To date, Sandals Resorts has been able to execute the following:

• Raised US$400,000 and provided relief in cash and kind at total value of US$1.2 million;

• Supplied, in partnership with Food for the Poor and NEMA, hurricane victims with a wide range of first response items such as hygiene kits, diapers, flashlights, tarpaulins, gloves, garbage bags and canned food;

• Provided meals and drinking water to hundreds of people on the islands of Abaco and Grand Bahama, and in shelters in Nassau, with the support of a volunteer team at Sandals Royal Bahamian resort;

• Facilitated rescue missions while working alongside Team Rubicon UK, NEMA and the United Nations

• Aided, with the help of the Sandals Royal Bahamian team, the medical response with the delivery of key linens to medical personnel and bedding to shelters;

• Provided funding in partnership with the Ministry of Tourism, NEMA and Odyssey Aviation for fuel for the emergency transportation of evacuees and aid workers;

• In partnership with Mahindra Automotive North America, donated five heavy-duty, off-road ROXOR vehicles to NEMA to assist recovery and resettlement efforts;

• Distributed much-needed school supplies to 150 children relocated to Exuma;

• Started the rehabilitation of the Roleville Emergency Shelter in Exuma with the assistance of the team at Sandals Emerald Bay resort, the Exuma Foundation and Bahamas Social Services;

• In partnership with the One on One Foundation and Cable and Wireless, it has purchased 500 learning tablets to allow students access to an online learning platform, so they are kept up-to-date with their academic curriculum and are prepared for the Caribbean Secondary Examination Council (CSEC) exams.

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