If you travel 200 miles due east of Miami, you will eventually hit the Abacos, a chain of islands and cays in the northern part of the Bahamas that over 17,000 people call home. Robert and Phyllis Cornea were among those people. As of Sunday, they were homeless.
“All the main buildings, gone,” Robert, a missionary who’d lived in the Abacos for 50 years, told CBS News. “It’s gone. Everything is gone.”
They’re not the only ones on the islands suffering unimaginable losses. In the catastrophic wake of Hurricane Dorian, which lashed the Bahamas Sunday as a devastating Category 5 storm, over 30 people are dead. At least one top-ranking Bahamian official expects that number to soar, CNN reported. The Red Cross estimates that nearly half the homes on the islands of Great Abaco and Grand Bahama have been severely damaged or destroyed, Time reported, and over 60,000 people will need assistance finding food and clean drinking water.
Coral Vita is one of the groups on the ground that has sprung into action to help the Bahamian people in Hurricane Dorian’s aftermath. Before the storm hit, it was devoted to restoring dying coral reefs in the Atlantic Ocean. Now they’ve started a GoFundMe to support the “general on the ground help” that the reef restoration company intends to carry out.
“Many of our neighbors’ and friends’ houses are completely destroyed and much of the island is underwater,” Coral Vita said on its GoFundMe. “The people and country of the Bahamas urgently need help and supplies as soon as possible.”
The team pledges to use the money raised to bring “medicine, first-aid, water, generators, canned food, hygienic products and other basic essentials” to families on the island who need them most. Any leftover funds will go toward “long term rebuilding and relief efforts,” the group said.
Coral Vita cautions that humankind needs to take action now to build coastal ecosystems resilient enough to withstand our planet’s destabilizing climate.
“This storm is a prime example of how we need to protect, restore and create resilient coastal ecosystems that can adapt to climate change, shelter communities from natural disasters, and provide livelihoods for local populations,” the group said on its website. “In the long term, Coral Vita will continue to work to make that happen here and around the world, but for now we need all the help we can get to directly help those in The Bahamas in dire need.”
To find out more about how you can help their efforts, click here.