As Hurricane Dorian wreaks havoc through the Bahamas, and the eastern coast of the United States, Disaster Aid Canada is working with an international network of aid organizations to provide the affected areas with supplies.
Disaster Aid Canada was founded by the Rotary Club of Ladysmith. Other Disaster Aid organizations are also Rotary initiatives. Executive director of Disaster Aid Canada, Gerry Beltgens, says that this connection gives the organizations confidence that all relief items will be distributed responsibly.
“Whenever we send out anything it always goes through Rotarians, or somebody on the ground that we know about,” Beltgens said.
Early reporting indicates that 13,000 homes have been damaged or destroyed already by Hurricane Dorian. Governor of the Bahamas, Cornelius A. Smith has put out a call for water, hygiene kits, and shelter, along with other items. Disaster Aid Canada is well positioned to supply those items.
“With Disaster Aid Canada, our biggest things we have are tents, water, and hygiene. Those are our specialities,” Beltgens said. “We’ve got disaster aid boxes where we can put in other items… that help people go through their day-to-day stuff after their house has been wiped out.”
Disaster Aid Canada is working to provide disaster aid as quickly as possible from their warehouses in Victoria. They are working in concert with Compassionate Warehouse on shipping, and Soap for Hope on hygiene kits. Disaster Aid USA will then organize the distribution of supplies in the affected areas.
With cash donations, Disaster Aid Canada can stretch the dollars in to further aid supplies, or even buy items in the affected areas. For people who want to help support disaster aid efforts in the Bahamas, Beltgens said the best way to help is to donate to reputable disaster aid organizations like Disaster Aid Canada.
“I think it’s really important people here in Ladysmith — and here on the Island know — that they can have a direct impact around the world… We can become so overwhelmed with what happens in the world that we can go numb,” Beltgens said. “For me, being part of this right now, instead of this being just another storm, I know that I can leverage what we do to actually make a difference. And that changes everything when you think that we here in Ladysmith can make a difference to the people in the Bahamas.”