Hurricane Dorian: Details & Donations

(Photo: Kinfay Moroti/The News-Press USA Today Network-Florida)

(Photo: Kinfay Moroti/The News-Press USA Today Network-Florida)

Joelle Dlugozima, Copy Editor; Staff Writer

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As hurricane season enters its most active month, Hurricane Dorian, one of the first devastating storms this season, drops to a tropical storm after ripping through various states and territories. The once category 5 hurricane hit parts of The Carolinas, Puerto Rico and The Bahamas, leaving citizens without power or water.

 

Dorian joins Irma, Harvey and thousands others in the list of worst storms, but with rising temperatures, it won’t be the last on that list. Due to hurricanes gaining life from a mix of warm oceans and moist air, the climate crisis only strengthens these storms. It is highly likely we will witness increasingly destructive natural disasters as the years pass and the climate warms.

 

Despite being missed by Dorian, Florida and Georgia were hit with heavy rains and strong winds, damaging the towns that run along their coasts. Both states expect millions in recovery costs and are working to restore power. Luckily, there were no reported fatalities.

 

However, the Bahamas were the biggest target for devastation as towns, homes and hospitals were completely destroyed by the storm. Unfortunately, the latest death toll is 50 and is expected to rise. The government is looking to enroll student evacuees in public schools on New Providence, a neighboring Bahamian island to the Abaco Islands, but some schools are already overcrowded, leaving the Bahamian Government with an enrollment dilemma. 

 

While sympathy is spreading and charities are looking for donations to help with hurricane relief, it’s important to note the common myths associated with disaster help, especially what really makes a good donation and what doesn’t.

 

Money

Obvious, yet rare, money can be the best donation to aid in hurricane relief. The Bahamas have made it clear that cash is king for this crisis. While physical goods take up space in warehouses and many times have to be checked by volunteers, financial donations can go straight to supplying victims and citizens in need. However, scamming can pose a potential threat to donators, and individuals should confirm that the charity they are contributing to is legitimate.

 

Canned Foods and Bottled Water 

Although food and water is almost always wanted for disaster assistance, the effectiveness of your donation is largely dependent on where and how you send it. By sending non-perishables directly to the disaster site, you risk filling warehouses and further complicating the situation for volunteers who have to inspect donations, repackage and relocate to where food is actually needed. Instead, ship foodstuffs to local food banks, relief agencies or any other organizations that have set programs to allocate donations.

 

Medicine

Individuals may have good intentions when contributing medicine to help with hurricane relief, but in reality, the donations just add more work for volunteers and end up being useless. Problems include people sending the wrong medicine, bottles of medication taking up space while staff catalogues them, and donated medicines having little chance of actually contributing to the cause. It’s best to leave the medical supply to the first responder units and disaster relief agencies for maximum efficiency during crises. 

 

Shoes

Yes, shoes are a necessary item for those affected by natural disasters. However, it gets excessive when individuals are sending nice pairs of boots, heels or flats. Affected regions require different needs depending on the situation or climate. For example, flip flops may be the best option for those in tropical areas because they are lightweight. Whereas, in colder, rockier areas, sturdy sneakers would be better to donate. Keep a lookout for announcements from disaster relief agencies on what shoes or clothing items are wanted. 

 

Used Clothing

Like shoes, clothing is needed most times but what you donate and how much determines how useful it will be. Remember, every box of donations will be sorted into categories, in this case by size and type, repackaged, and reallocated to victims who need it most, taking time and focus away from main recovery efforts. If you’re not sure whether your clothes will help or hinder efforts, cash donations is always an option you can fall back on.

 

Bottom line: stay informed and use common sense when looking to contribute to hurricane relief. Unfortunately, many articles surrounding Hurricane Dorian list items that can easily hinder recovery efforts, so reviewing these guidelines will help make sure your donation goes a long way. 

 

As for what Georgia is doing to help, North American Properties (NAP) has sent supplies to the Abaco Islands as well as worked with Avalon to host events to raise funds for the recovery effort, according to the Patch. Furthermore, many Red Cross centers located in Georgia are opening blood drives to help contribute much-needed medical assistance.