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Another Voice: Bahamas needs our help after climate change disaster

By William Lambers

Hurricane Dorian’s massive winds and rainfall is the latest climate change tragedy to strike. Islands in the Bahamas have been devastated by the hurricane with thousands left homeless needing shelter, food and water. We can take action to help storm victims in the Bahamas and those affected in the United States.

The damage from Hurricane Dorian has been described as catastrophic. Claire Nullis of the World Meteorological Organization says the hurricane “was the strongest on record to make landfall in the Bahamas.”

The Grand Bahama and Abaco Islands are the hardest hit by the storm. Deaths have been reported and some residents are still missing. The International Red Cross says more than 13,000 homes had been damaged.

The UN World Food Program and the Caribbean Disaster Emergency Management Agency say that more than 14,000 people will need food on Abaco Island and in Grand Bahama over 47,000. The assessments are ongoing and changing, but they will be significant.

Hunger is a big risk in the aftermath of this storm with agriculture, fishing, food production and distribution being damaged. A hunger crisis could go on for many months. Relief supplies will be required over an extended period of time for recovery.

The Bahamas will need immediate help and also long-term support to rebuild. Coastal areas of the U.S. have also been hit hard by the hurricane and will need assistance. This is the harsh reality of climate change where storms are more frequent and their intensity greater than in the past.

Denis McClean from the UN Office for Disaster Risk Reduction explains, “This is the fourth consecutive year that we have witnessed an extremely devastating Atlantic hurricane season, including Category 5 hurricanes like Dorian. The sequence cannot be divorced from fact that these last five years have been the hottest ever recorded because of the continuing rise in greenhouse gases in the atmosphere.”

Climate change and its impact are here and going to get worse, unless we take action. The rising temperatures and extreme weather is harming agriculture and food production in many countries.

To help Hurricane Dorian victims in the Bahamas and the United States you can donate to the Red Cross or the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies.

Mercy Corps and The Salvation Army are also accepting donations to provide hurricane relief in the Bahamas. Catholic Relief Services is raising funds to help church partners providing aid in the Bahamas.

William Lambers is an author who partnered with the UN World Food Program on the book “Ending World Hunger.”

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