Archbishop Patrick Pinder of Nassau has said that the initial response of rebuilding material assets post Hurricane Dorian is very important but the long-term response of paying attention to the spiritual needs of Bahamians, their mental and psychological needs is going to be “equally important”.
Hurricane Dorian made landfall Sunday, September 1 as a Category 5 hurricane with maximum sustained winds of 185 miles per hour pummelling northwest Bahamas in the Great Abaco and Grand Bahama islands for two days.
The result was massive destruction “on a scale we’ve never before seen in the history of our little nation,” Archbishop Pinder said in a September 5 statement via video following the devastation of Dorian. The almost four-minute clip was posted on the ‘Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Nassau’ Facebook page.
In it, the Archbishop said that the first response was meeting basic human needs—food, water, shelter and clothing. The Archdiocese of Nassau, he said, has reached out “to their Catholic colleagues” overseas to provide some of these basic needs.
But the scale of destruction brought by Hurricane Dorian is such that the Archdiocese’s rebuilding efforts are going to take a “long long time,” he said.
Archbishop Pinder said that many are homeless and bearing in mind that after New Providence—the most populous island in The Bahamas, containing more than 70 per cent of the total population—the islands of Grand Bahama and Abaco have the largest concentration of people in the Bahamas with around 70,000 affected.
“Many have been left homeless; infrastructure has been severely damaged; institutions and business[es] have been damaged as well and actually worst of all is the loss of life,” he said.
He mentioned that though they live in a hurricane zone, and as a consequence they must always prepare for them, preparing alone does not stop hurricanes from coming their way, nor does it stop the degree of damage a hurricane can do.
But preparing, he said, certainly enables them to be in a better position to respond afterwards.
The Archbishop invited persons wishing to contribute to the Hurricane Dorian relief effort to consult the Archdiocese’s website www.archdioceseofnassau.org.
He believed it is also most important for all to remain unified, to show solidarity, fraternity and care for each other. To this end, he urged all to rely on the grace of the Holy Spirit to give them wisdom, peace of mind and strength to make it through this “most difficult time” in the history of the nation.