As the Bahamas Government expressed appreciation for $3.6 million in disaster response supplies, a gift from the U.S Government, the Hon. Iram Lewis, Minister of State for Disaster Preparedness, Management, and Reconstruction underscored the nation’s need to continue efforts to ensure all is done to better prepare for any disaster and to better its response capabilities. The Hon. K. Peter Turnquest, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance, headed the list of high ranking officials who witnessed the ceremony to mark the handover of emergency relief equipment and supplies to the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA), September 18, 2020 at the Royal Bahamas Defence Force (RBDF) Coral Harbour Base.
Also present was US Embassy Charge d’Affaires John McNamara, who addressed the ceremony. Director of National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA), Captain Stephen Russell, also brought remarks. On hand were: Phedra Rahming and Carl Smith, permanent secretaries; John Michael Clarke, Chairman, Disaster Reconstruction Authority; Commodore Raymond King, RBDF; Sean Brennen, Director General, Bahamas Red Cross Society; and senior officials representing non-governmental organizations and the
US and Bahamian governments.
In his remarks, Minister Lewis said the equipment and supplies will help to enhance the country’s emergency response efforts and provide relief to affected Bahamians and visitors.
“We must continue our efforts to ensure that we do all that is possible to better prepare for any disaster and better our response capabilities. Since the passage of Hurricane Dorian, we at the Ministry of Disaster Preparedness, Management & Reconstruction, the National Emergency Management Agency, and Disaster Reconstruction Authority, have been working assiduously to address all aspects of the disaster management cycle, namely preparation, mitigation, response, recovery, and reconstruction.
“This is an on-going work that necessitates collaboration and partnerships among and between local and international entities, and we welcome all to join us in this effort,” he said. Captain Russell said the donation is a demonstration of the sustainability of
programs throughout the years and the long, proven partnership and friendship between the two countries. He informed that for over a decade the US Government and other US agencies have been collaborating with NEMA, and now the Ministry of Disaster Preparedness, Management and Reconstruction, to assist with capacity building, and knowledge exchange in the areas of emergency and disaster mitigation, preparedness, relief, response and recovery.
Moreover, Captain Russell stated that the US is also lending assistance with repairs to 13 shelter facilities in Grand Bahama and Abaco that were impacted by Hurricane Dorian in 2019. Following assessment, each facility was eligible to receive up to $15,000 in material assistance through an ongoing Minimum Cost Project Program. John McNamara, Charge d’ Affaires, US Embassy, said today’s event is the result of months of coordination and hard work between the two countries. He said, “On behalf of the US government and the American people, the embassy is proud today to deliver $3.6 million in disaster response supplies to help our friends and partners in the Bahamian government and the wonderful Bahamian people.”
He acknowledged Commander Kevin Self, Defense Attache, US Embassy, Nassau, for his efforts in today’s event. A tour followed the ceremony, where sample emergency items for display included:
- Whaly rescue boat
- Medical stretcher
- Life vests
- A mobile emergency shelter system that should allow for accommodating
up to 400 persons in an emergency or disaster-stricken area and capable of
being equally divided for operation in two different locations or islands.
Photo Highlights from the ceremony below: