HURRICANE DORIAN RECOVERY
Hurricane Dorian hit Abaco on September 1, 2019, wreaking havoc on our infrastructure and causing harm to our communities and environment. While significant efforts have made a dent in island-wide cleanup, scars from the storm remain: piles of debris in management sites, marine debris still to be collected, insufficient utilities and infrastructure, and our ecosystems are still recovering.
FRIENDS is playing a part in Abaco's recovery, assisting with disaster response, being a leader in sustainability, and finding ways to incorporate recovery and resilience in all of our programs.
Marine Debris Removal
Helping prevent further damage to our ecosystems.
Hurricane Dorian hit Abaco on September 1st, 2019. Some estimates suggest approximately 30 years of garbage was created in that one instance. The eye of the storm passed over Central Abaco, with the greatest impact experienced by the Marsh Harbour area and the Cays. Abaco is a maritime community that relies on a healthy and safe marine environment. FRIENDS is working to help facilitate that.
Our main concerns include pollution, navigational hazards, and continued damage to marine ecosystems and animals. We are working to build partnerships with groups that have expertise to implement and inform the project, prioritize areas of importance and high impact, and draw on community knowledge and experience to accomplish goals.
Building Resilience of The Kenyon Centre
Preparing for future disaster response amidst climate change
Sadly our offices and Education Centre were lost to the storm, however The Kenyon Centre pulled through and was able to become a centre for disaster response personnel in the early days following Dorian. We are working to strengthen the ability of the centre to aid in disaster response and reinforce our function as a demonstration site for sustainable building.
With the support of the UNDP GEF SGP, Center for Disaster Philanthropy, Water Mission, and Global Giving, FRIENDS has replaced our damaged solar array, and will install a water catchment and filtration system to provide a back up source of potable water.
Sustainable Job Training Opportunities
Empowering youth with knowledge
As Abaco recovers, we feel it is important to help our communities get back on their feet. By providing opportunities for training in sustainable fields such as renewable energy, eco-tourism, and regenerative farming we hope to inspire and encourage Abaco's youths to become entrepreneurs in their own right. This way, we help to build capacity on island and support FRIENDS' vision of a sustainable future for Abaco. Our pilot training program in partnership with Engineered Electric Services assisted successful applicants in gaining practical experience during the installation of FRIENDS' new solar array. Our latest cohort of apprentices were hosted at a local farm.
Connecting International Groups with the community
Facilitating relief and telling the story of survival
Immediately following the storm, FRIENDS staff saw opportunities to help in relief and recovery efforts in Abaco. Our deep community roots and local knowledge enabled us to facilitate the work of a number of international groups bringing aid to Abaco. YachtAid Global (YAG) brought much needed school supplies; we helped coordinate connection with teachers and delivery of the supplies. YAG introduced us to the award winning SeaLegacy team, including Paul Nicklen and Cristina Mittermeier, which enabled us to inform the documentary they are producing on Dorian’s devastation and the need for continued relief efforts for the people and the environment. Rocky Mountain Institute (RMI) came to Abaco investigating sites for solar micro-grids, we provided logistics helping them gather crucial information with their limited time on the ground. The Clinton Foundation is part of the RMI team, and we were introduced to the Clinton Global Initiative, providing us with the opportunity to connect with other relief organisations including Center for Disaster Philanthropy that culminated in the creation of our impactful WASH & DRY program. RMI also introduced us to a CBS 60 Minutes producer, and again we were able to help with logistics, and further spread awareness about the plight of Abaco after Dorian. Connecting with EcoBlue Projects lead to debris removal at Mermaid Reef, and a bigger conversation with IDEA Relief for future debris removal and contaminant studies in the Sea of Abaco
Because The Kenyon Centre was only minimally damaged we were able to offer the facility first to Team Rubicon and then to Samaritan’s Purse to use as headquarters for their incredible relief and recovery efforts. Realising the potential of these opportunities to help our community while recognising the importance of hope and gratitude in the face of the adversity has lead us to grow as an organisation and build amazing new partners.