NASSAU, BAHAMAS – The Secretary General of the Organization of American States (OAS), Luis Almagro, witnessed firsthand the destruction brought by Hurricane Dorian in Abaco and Grand Bahama firsthand as he toured storm-ravaged areas with the government.
In Abaco, Almagro was accompanied by the Hon Darren Henfield, Minister of Foreign Affairs, Permanent Secretary Jack Thompson, the Disaster Coordinator for Abaco.
They were able to tour the Treasure Cay Primary School and around the Marsh Harbour area mostly impacted by Hurricane Dorian.
In Grand Bahama, he toured hard-hit areas with Deputy Prime Minister and East Grand Bahama MP K Peter Turnquest.
During his visit, the Secretary General highlighted the resilience and strength of the Bahamian people in responding to the devastation.
Moreover, the Secretary General expressed the support of the OAS for the efforts of the government of The Bahamas, and congratulated authorities in particular for work done in the areas of humanitarian assistance, clean-up, recovery and reconstruction.
He further expressed the backing of the OAS for government’s efforts to respond to the urgent needs of the residents of Abaco and Grand Bahama, both those who remain on the islands and those who are still displaced, and its commitment to ensuring that the affected population returns to normalcy and regains access to basic services such as water, power, food, and shelter, education, health, as well as the opportunity of livelihoods.
The Secretary General emphasized that this tragedy highlights the importance of increasing international cooperation in the fight against climate change, an issue that must be addressed urgently.
“Climate change is a non-declared battle waged especially against Small Island Developing States,” Almagro said.
“The frequency and intensity of hurricanes in recent years cannot be stopped, but the installed capacity to respond to natural disasters can improve, and the implementation of green energy policies can be enhanced.
“Yet this requires the effort of the entire international community, not just of those who are the most vulnerable on the front line of the fight against climate change suffering its effects such as The Bahamas.
Almagro continued: “The OAS has the responsibility and obligation to place climate change and green energy at the top of the hemispheric agenda. Not doing so will mean more human and material costs like those experienced with Hurricane Dorian.
The Secretary General reiterated his condolences and that of the General Secretariat of the OAS to the families of the victims who perished and of those who are still missing from the devastation caused by the hurricane