Hurricane Dorian Response Launched
In these earliest of days, the destruction’s extent isn’t known. What is known is that Hurricane Dorian made landfall over the Abaco Islands on Sunday, September 1st, with sustained wind speeds of approximately 180 miles per hour (classified as a Category 5 storm). The next day, the hurricane then cut a path to Grand Bahama Island, resulting in heavy rainfall, flooding, and storm surges of up to 23 feet.
At least 70,000 people have been left homeless and the death toll is expected to increase significantly. The slow moving storm ravaged the Bahamas for several days before heading north toward the US.
Ben Savonen, a member of Field Ready’s emergency response team, will be carrying out a rapid assessment starting Monday. Partnering with GER3 and others on the ground, Field Ready will be looking at immediate needs in areas such as water and sanitation, shelter and health as well as other key needs that are not yet known. Examples may include energy, connectivity and social protection such as the specific needs of children and the elderly.
Equipped with a recent PhD in Mechanical Engineering from Penn State, Ben is an expert in local manufacturing and techniques such as 3D printing. He is also experienced in humanitarian response and development (he is a former Peace Corps volunteer).
“We’re prepared to do everything we can,” Ben says.
Field Ready has extensive experience in responding to disasters of this type. In 2017, the organization responded to the dual hurricanes that struck the Caribbean. Among other initiatives, an effort was made to salvage storm-damaged solar panels. These enabled people to reconnect with family members and register for aid.
Field Ready’s Executive Director, Dr. Eric James, explains that “In these situations, we focus on things that can have a catalytic or have a leveraging impact. And things that are critical but nonetheless missing from the main relief efforts.”
Field Ready works on what makes the most sense. In Vanuatu, following a volcano evacuation, the organization created urgently-needed locally made beds, privacy screens and water carriers. In Syria, Field Ready has made search and rescue equipment that has saved dozens of lives. And in Colombia, household water filters were locally made.
Eric added, “We seek to compliment and amplify the work of others whether it’s the Bahamian government, local businesses, other relief workers and especially affected people themselves.”
Following the action assessment this week, Field Ready is already looking toward reconstruction efforts. This may involve training and technical assistance. The possibility of fielding a mobile manufacturing capacity is also being looked at.