In the week or so since Hurricane Dorian devastated the Bahama Islands, Deltonans have been living up to their reputation of aiding Caribbean residents in distress.
Two years ago, Deltona residents gave, amassed and shipped untold tons of humanitarian supplies to Puerto Rico after Hurricanes Irma and Maria pummeled the island, destroying its electric-power system as well as homes and businesses. The reconstruction of Puerto Rico continues, as the islanders try to put their lives back together.
Now, in the aftermath of Dorian’s 36-hour assault on the Bahamas, Deltonans are once again taking donations of emergency goods needed by those who have suddenly been thrown backward into less-comfortable living conditions.
“They need water, first-aid kits, gas stoves, propane, paper goods, mosquito repellent, tents, tarps, shampoo — anything that you would use in camping,” Deltona City Commissioner Maritza Avila-Vazquez said, as she stood by some of the donations dropped off at the Deltona Community Center Sept. 8. “Baby items, like diapers, wipes. Cleaning supplies.”
A few people had even dropped off some dog food and cat food for the pets in the Bahamas affected by Dorian’s wrath.
The storm’s sustained winds peaked at 185 mph, with gusts reaching over 220 mph, making it an extremely powerful Category 5 storm. It affected several islands in the Bahamas Sept. 1-3, causing an estimated $7 billion in damage and at least 50 deaths.
The storm only lightly affected Puerto Rico, where the recovery effort from Hurricane Maria continues.
The collection of relief supplies began Sept. 7 and is an ongoing effort.
The Deltona Community Center, at 980 Lakeshore Drive, is open to receive donations 8 a.m.-5 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays, and 9 a.m.-6 p.m. Tuesdays and Thursdays.
“We’re going to have this until Dec. 30,” Avila-Vazquez added, stressing the severity of the Bahamians’ losses and their ongoing need for outside assistance.
She said she is working with the Bahamian consulate in Miami to arrange for the shipment and delivery of the supplies.