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As Hurricane Dorian finally begins to inch away from the Bahamas on Sept. 3, Americans along the southeast coast are preparing to stay indoors, evacuate, or even leave their homes. While many are hoping the storm will weaken in coming days, it’s already unleashed much of its destructive potential. As of Sept. 3, Dorian has left at least five people dead and countless others missing or without supplies after hitting the Bahamas as a Category 5 storm on Sept. 1 and 2. If you’re fortunate enough to be out of harm’s way, here’s how you can help those hit by Dorian in the Bahamas.
As of Sept. 3, Dorian has been downgraded to a Category 2 hurricane, with wind speeds of 110 mph. Hurricane categories use wind speeds as a basis to measure danger, with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) categorizing Category 3 or higher to have high potential for significant loss of life and damage. However, it reached Categories 4 and 5 over the Aug. 31 weekend with winds of up to 140 mph, making it the strongest hurricane to hit the Bahamas, per CNN. The storm has already reportedly killed at least five people, including an 8-year-old boy, according to CNN.
Dorian was particularly deadly thanks to the hurricane’s slow movement — at 1 mph or even slower — across the Atlantic, according to Storms that strong rarely just linger or even stand still over land. Even if it proves less destructive in the United States than in the Bahamas, the storm will almost certainly arrive in the United States with strong winds and rain. Evacuations have already affected millions in Florida, Georgia, and the Carolinas.
The eye of the storm will likely remain around 50 miles off Florida’s eastern coast, but it will still bring heavy rains and wind, CNN reported on Sept. 2. Forecasts then see the storm moving north along the coasts of Georgia and the Carolinas.
Florida is more than familiar with the fears and consequences that come with hurricanes. On Sept. 3, Mayor Carlos A. Gimenez of Miami-Dade County announced relief efforts to assist their eastern neighbors. Locations across the county are accepting donations for items requested by the Bahamian government.
“We will match our thoughts and our prayers with action by offering as much assistance as we can in the aftermath of this unprecedented event and hurricane,” Gimenez said at a press conference. “We are counting on our entire community of South Florida to step forward and donate whatever you can.”
On Sept. 1, Miami Commissioner Ken Russell launched #BAHAMASTRONG on Twitter. In addition to the donation relief effort, the hashtag has allowed for mass updates regarding Dorian and its aftermath in the Bahamas. As you keep up with the storm, here’s what you can do to help.
If you live in the Miami area, you can drop off items such as water, canned foods, can openers, baby necessities, and first-aid or emergency items to BAHAMASTRONG locations in Miami. Other locations across Florida are also accepting donations for local communities and others affected.
For those who live farther away and would like to offer monetary help, you can donate to efforts such as HeadKnowles, a grassroots non-profit based in the Bahamas that raised more than $2 million after Hurricane Joaquin in 2015. HeadKnowles is crowdfunding to assist Dorian victims and accepting donations in person and through mail. Co-founder Gina Knowles told on Sept. 3 that much of the donated funds are being used to fuel the supply planes bringing relief items to the Bahamas.
Neighbors 4 Neighbors is another option that has partnered with news organizations to raise relief funds. The partnership of news services and organizations local to South Florida works to support community relief in the area. You can also donate to Chef José Andrés, who has arrived in Bahamas to feed people through World Central Kitchen and provided over 3 million meals to Puerto Ricans after Hurricane Maria in 2017.
For on the ground assistance, All Hands and Hearts is raising money to help victims and enlisting volunteers to offer firsthand assistance.
For those who are still facing the storm, Uber announced it will offer free round trips to a list of state-approved evacuation shelters. You can use the promo code DORIANRELIEF for up to $20 each way.
For those in affected states, it is important to know your specific evacuation zone in order to plan for potential flooding and plan for travel in advance. A list of designated zones is available by county.
The Bahamas is just getting started recovering from the worst hurricane it has seen. Whether you have a couple dollars to spare or canned food sitting around your kitchen, please consider giving to those affected. In the meantime, always make sure to hear from people on the ground before deciding how to offer your help.