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2005-09-02 17:55:02

Bahamas Donates $50,000 To U.S. Hurricane Relief

Minister Mitchell said the money will be donated directly to the American Red Cross.

The Government of The Bahamas has agreed to donate $50,000 to the massive hurricane relief effort now underway in three U.S. states, it was announced on Thursday.

Minister of Foreign Affairs Fred Mitchell said that Hurricane Katrina has reminded many in Grand Bahama of their hardship during Hurricane Frances and Jeanne and the country must also remember the immediate assistance the United States rendered during the country's recovery period.

Minister Mitchell said the money will be donated directly to the American Red Cross.

"The destruction is unimaginable almost and there was a devastating loss of life and I am sure that those people in our own country in Grand Bahama would remember having suffered this themselves last year so I am sure it brought back a lot of traumatic memories to the island of Grand Bahama," he said.

The government has also outlined an emergency plan for Bahamians who are stranded in those southern states due to the storm, it was announced.

Minister Mitchell said emergency aid will be made available for Bahamians in distress through The Bahamas consulate office in Miami, the Bahamas Embassy in Washington, D.C., or The Bahamas Tourist Office in Houston, Texas.

The government has also appealed to family members to make available information of Bahamians in those states who they may not have heard from so that assistance can be arranged for them.

Bahamians stranded will be assisted in getting home and provided with immediate short-term needs, according to the Minister.

However, Minister Mitchell said the amount that the government has allotted for stranded Bahamians will not be disclosed so that persons who may not be in need of assistance won't be tempted to lodge false emergency claims.

Minister Mitchell also expressed his condolences to the United States during its recovery time.

"We want the people in the United States to know that this is a situation we understand well. It is one which we empathize with and we have a general concern for all people that have been adversely affected by this storm," he said.

"The Ministry of Foreign Affairs on behalf of the government conveyed by diplomatic note condolences and expressed its grief to the government and the people of the United States of America for the tremendous losses suffered in the wake of Hurricane Katrina."

International reports have indicated that hundreds of Americans lost their lives during the destruction of the storm.

Bianca Symonette, The Bahama Journal

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