WHEN Hurricane Dorian, a Category 5 storm, hit the Bahamas with wind speeds of up to 220 mph and storm surges of up to 23 feet, it did immense damage, leaving over 70,000 people in need of urgent humanitarian assistance and some 13,000 homes severely damaged or destroyed.

Houses, schools and hospitals have collapsed. It was one of the most powerful Atlantic hurricanes ever to make landfall.

North Cotswolds Rotary organised a store collection outside the Co-op in Bourton-on-the-Water, raising, with gift aid, £450. The club added money from their emergency reserves and have donated £1000 to help alleviate the situation on the ground. Rotary clubs around the world have been taking similar action and will be working with local Rotary clubs in the area – an important part of belonging to Rotary’s international family.

“We were fortunate to have detailed information on the conditions in the Bahamas from Diana and Roger White from the Rotary e-Club of the Caribbean, who are currently in Stow-on-the-Wold and who have been visiting our club,” said North Cotswolds Rotary president John Barber.

“They were able to get first-hand accounts of the destruction on the ground.”

Diana explained that as aid comes in, Rotary in the Bahamas is beginning to move to longer-term strategies in preparation for helping their economies to recover.

“It will take time,” she said, “but that is what Rotary is best at.” Disaster Aid UK and Ireland are working with local Rotarians to provide immediate shelter, food, and other necessities. And Rotary’s disaster relief partner ShelterBox has sent a team to the Bahamas to work with Rotary members on the ground to assess damage, determine needs for emergency shelter, and evaluate recovery options.

Another relief initiative has been taken by a former member of the North Cotswolds Rotary, David Rogers from Upper Rissington, who is currently in Florida. David has been helping to organise urgently needed relief supplies for desperate survivors.