TORONTO — The news reports coming in from Grand Bahama and the Abaco Islands are heartbreaking, and the images even more so.
TORONTO — Status reports are coming in from many of the top resorts in the Bahamas as the destination emerges from Hurricane Dorian.
Now a Category 3 storm, Dorian originally arrived as a Category 5 on Sunday and has been parked over the islands ever since.
The latest update has Dorian moving away from the Bahamas this morning, heading for the U.S. but so far tracking more north than west, likely saving Florida from a direct hit.
At least five deaths have been reported in the Bahamas as a result of Dorian. At one point Grand Bahama airport was under six feet (about two metres) of water.
Grand Bahama and Abaco were hit the hardest. To the south, New Providence, with capital city Nassau and more than a quarter million people, escaped with little damage. Nassau’s Lynden Pindling International Airport (LPIA) is open and operational.
WestJet has extended its flexible rebooking policy for Nassau until Sept. 3, and for Fort Lauderdale and Orlando until Sept. 5, and for Myrtle Beach for Sept. 5.
WestJet is also notifying passengers and the trade that there will be no WestJet staff at MYR on Sept. 5, and there will be no WestJet staff at FLL through Sept. 4, or at MCO through Sept. 4.
Major resorts including Sandals Resorts, Baha Mar, Warwick Paradise Island and Atlantis Paradise Island have issued status reports and many are offering ways for guests and members of the industry to donate to relief efforts for the islands.
Here’s the latest…
“Our hearts and prayers are with those affected by Hurricane Dorian, especially in the northern islands of the Bahamas.
“We are fortunate to report that our Bahamian resorts were not in Dorian’s path and have not been affected. All of our guests and team members at Sandals Royal Bahamian, Sandals Emerald Bay and Fowl Cay are safe and comfortable. We wish to extend a heartfelt thank you to all who have reached out to check on us.
“The Sandals Foundation stands ready to assist our neighbours in the Northern Bahamas, and we have established an urgent first responders disaster relief collection for donations. 100% of all funds will go towards relief and rebuilding efforts in the Abaco Islands and Grand Bahama Island.”
ATLANTIS PARADISE ISLAND
“We are thankful for the outpouring of support from our friends and families during Hurricane Dorian. We are grateful that New Providence and Atlantis Paradise Island were not severely impacted by the storm. However, several of the family islands in northwestern Bahamas are experiencing devastating life-threatening conditions.
“Atlantis is working with The Bahamas Red Cross and Chef José Andrés World Central Kitchen to provide much needed relief including food and supplies to the residents of Abaco, Grand Bahama and others in the Bahamas who were affected. Many of you have contacted us asking how you can help. Please donate to the Atlantis Bahamas Hurricane Dorian Relief Fund. 100% of the proceeds raised from this fund will be donated to The Bahamas Red Cross to help with the recovery efforts in the Bahamas.”
WARWICK PARADISE ISLAND – BAHAMAS
Warwick Paradise Island – Bahamas reports that its 340 in-house guests including visitors and staff members are safe following the passage of Hurricane Dorian through The Bahamas. “The resort is fully operational and incurred no damage as Paradise Island experienced rain and wind with the island located south of the hurricane track.
“First and foremost, our thoughts and prayers are with our fellow Bahamians who suffered loss as a result of Hurricane Dorian. We will be collecting items for the Bahamas Red Cross and bringing to their Nassau location to assist those communities impacted by the hurricane.
“As part of our hurricane protocols, we assembled a team of efficient associates and managers who remained at the resort and provided our 340 guests, who stayed on Sept. 1, with a complete vacation experience with meals, snacks, beverages and entertainment despite the rainy and windy conditions outside. We are thankful to our guests for their cooperation and appreciation before and during the storm.
“The Bahamas Ministry of Tourism and Aviation and the Bahamas Hotel and Tourism Association provided excellent communication in advance of the storm as the destination prepared for the arrival of Hurricane Dorian as well as throughout the storm’s presence over our country.”
Agents with clients whose travel plans were impacted by Hurricane Dorian can contact the reservations team at 1-888-645-5550 (toll-free U.S. and Canada) or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
“We would like to extend our most sincere gratitude and appreciation to the entire Baha Mar team for their efforts in preparation for Hurricane Dorian. We are grateful the storm did not directly impact our associates, guests and Baha Mar, all of which are our utmost priorities. The island of New Providence sustained minimal damage and Baha Mar is open and fully operational, as is Nassau’s Lynden Pindling International Airport (LPIA).
“We extend our deepest love, full support and prayers to all those enduring the devasting impact and damages of this storm, especially our neighboring islands, The Abacos and Grand Bahama. Many of our associates have relatives living in the affected islands, so this devastation is personal to everyone at Baha Mar and we feel the suffering. We hope there is comfort and strength in knowing that the nation of The Bahamas, and the Baha Mar family, stands fully behind those in need.
“The Baha Mar Foundation is spearheading hurricane relief efforts to assist those in Grand Bahama and The Abacos by providing food, shelter and medicine.
“We encourage all to join and support our efforts, by making a donation directly using the donate button below. We are committed in our support to the family islands and 100% of proceeds donated here will go directly to helping those in need.
“We are committed in our support to the family islands and 100% of proceeds donated here will go directly to helping those in need.
“You may also donate to the Bahamas Red Cross, by visiting https://bahamasredcross.org.”
CARIBBEAN TOURISM ORGANIZATION (CTO)
“The Caribbean Tourism Organization (CTO) expresses our deepest regret and sadness over the loss of life and damage done to the Abacos and Grand Bahama Island by dangerous category 5 hurricane Dorian.
“In the wake of this monstrous storm, we have witnessed the pain of those who lost loved ones, the agony of so many who lost their homes and all their belongings, and the angst of an entire Caribbean concerned for the welfare of the people of these islands.
“However, as has been demonstrated so many times in the past, we have weathered many storms, we are a resilient people who refuse to surrender even in the most difficult of times, and we are confident that the people of the Abaco Islands and Grand Bahama, with the full support of the Islands of the Bahamas and the Caribbean tourism family, will navigate the road to recovery together and emerge stronger.
“With the Bahamas being an archipelago with more than 700 islands and cays spread over 100,000 square miles, the greatest impact of Hurricane Dorian is being felt in the northernmost islands of the Abacos and Grand Bahama, while most of the nation has been mostly unaffected.
“The CTO offers our full support to the Bahamas. We have activated our Hurricane Relief Fund which has been established to help our people and countries rebuild after disasters.
“Please visit https://www.gofundme.com/hurricane-relief-fund-cto to donate to the fund. We appreciate your contribution and encourage you to be generous.”
With file from The Associated Press