Switzerland has sent five humanitarian aid specialists, as well as relief supplies, to the Bahamas to help cope with the aftermath of Cyclone Dorian.
The team left on Friday and emergency supplies – including a water purification system – have already reached the island nation. Part of the Swiss Humanitarian Aid group, the team includes specialists in the areas of water and hygiene, logistics, emergency shelter and waste management.
The Swiss experts will ensure the handover and commissioning of the drinking water module and train the local authorities in its optimum use. They will also assess the situation on site and evaluate the need for further support.
The water purification system, weighing around one ton, arrived in the Bahamas on Thursday and will provide clean drinking water for up to 10,000 people a day. It is likely to be set up at Marsh Harbour, the capital of Abaco Island.
Last week, Swiss Humanitarian Aid allocated CHF300,000 (around $303,000) to the emergency relief operations of the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) as well as CHF200,000 to the World Food Programme (WFP).
To date, Hurricane Dorian has claimed at least 50 lives. However, more than 2,500 people are still missing on the most severely affected islands of Abaco and Grand Bahama. A total of 68,000 people live on these two islands. Of a total population of around 355,000 in the Bahamas, 70,000 are dependent on aid. There is a lack of food, clean drinking water and emergency shelter. On Abaco, up to 90% of homes and infrastructure were damaged or completely destroyed.