Hurricane Dorian: Commonwealth Secretary-General commiserates with Bahamas

September 3, 2019
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The Secretary-General of the Commonwealth, Patricia Scotland has expressed deep sorrow over the catastrophic hurricane Dorian which swept through The Bahamas on Monday.

So far, about five people have been confirmed dead and extensive damage to property and infrastructure in the tiny Island’s worst natural disaster.

Hurricane Dorian, described as a category 4 storm came to a standstill as it pummeled the Bahamas. It is expected to move “dangerously close” to the Florida coast on Tuesday night.

In a statement, Scotland said: “We want the government and all Bahamians to know that our thoughts and prayers are with them; and that we are working with our partners to make available as swiftly as possible whatever assistance The Bahamas may require at this time of great need and uncertainty.

“It is heartrending to hear of the destruction and disruption this extremely powerful Atlantic hurricane has caused, forcing people out of their homes and wreaking widespread devastation on The Bahamas.

She said the memories of similar disastrous impacts in other Commonwealth countries caused by floods in Asia, by cyclones in Africa and the Pacific, and by hurricanes in the Caribbean, were still fresh in her mind.

“Nations are rebuilding from those climate disasters. We share with the people of The Bahamas deep concern about the impact of Hurricane Dorian on vulnerable communities and for economic resilience. We will carry forward with renewed vigour our Commonwealth advocacy and work in support of small and vulnerable countries facing the serious challenge of climate change – an undoubted cause of the increasing frequency and intensity of these natural disasters.

“Among innovations being delivered by the Commonwealth Secretariat on behalf of our member countries is our Disaster Risk Finance Portal, designed to assist capacity-constrained governments with access to information on various finance instruments so that they are better equipped to manage the financial impact of natural disasters.

“Alongside this there are programmes such as our Commonwealth Climate Finance Access Hub, which has helped countries gain access to $25 million for climate action, with a further $367 million in the pipeline; and our participation in CommonSensing – a consortium of international partners, working together to support and build climate resilience and enhance decision-making through the use of satellite remote sensing technology.

“Every time a member country is affected, the urgency and resolve with which we need to mobilise our Commonwealth response is borne in afresh on our collective consciousness.”

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