Providing a Pipeline for a Community’s New Start

3rd February 2021

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Samaritan’s Purse is restoring clean water to Bahamian communities devastated by Hurricane Dorian.

The small fishing village of Sweetings Cay on the eastern end of Grand Bahama island was told to evacuate quickly as Hurricane Dorian tore a path toward them in early September 2019. Dorian had grown into a violent Category 5 storm.

Samaritan’s Purse is helping restore water to Sweetings Cay, a community on Grand Bahama hit hard by Hurricane Dorian in 2019.

Samaritan’s Purse is helping restore water to Sweetings Cay, a community on Grand Bahama hit hard by Hurricane Dorian in 2019.

The hurricane ripped buildings from their foundations and swept people and belongings out to sea. When the sky finally cleared after Dorian’s days-long assault, Sweetings Cay was cut off from the rest of the island. They were also cut off from access to clean water, threatening the community’s way of life and livelihoods.

Without access to clean water, it would have been nearly impossible for the community to rebuild.

So, over the course of several months this year, Samaritan’s Purse Water, Sanitation, and Hygiene (WASH) teams have been working in the remote community to replace the old, damaged water system with miles of new pipeline.

Restoring Hope

More than a year after the storm, with this new water system and rehabilitation of infrastructure, new signs of life are springing forth on the island and giving residents hope for a brighter future.

“I am very happy to see the work of Samaritan’s Purse on Sweetings Cay,” said Winifred, the owner of a once-thriving restaurant in the community. Winifred’s restaurant had been a popular retreat for Grand Bahamians looking to escape bustling Freeport, the island’s centre of commerce.

“I want to thank God for people like Samaritan’s Purse who show their love and support for our community. We can’t thank you enough.”

The hurricane had destroyed her home and business, but as she returned to the island to begin repairs, the pipeline project gave her and her neighbours a renewed determination to rebuild.

“We are hopeful in the future of Sweetings Cay, that there will be a new Sweetings Cay,” Winifred said. “We are hopeful that everyone will get their homes back up and back on track.”

Shervin Tate, deputy chief councillor for Sweetings Cay, says he is grateful to God for the work that has re-established clean water to his beloved community.

“The work you are doing is extraordinary! I want to thank God for people like Samaritan’s Purse who show their love and support for our community,” Tate said. “We can’t thank you enough.”

Helping the Bahamas in Jesus’ Name

Seeing the community pull together to help each other also has been an uplifting part of the town’s recovery, said Phil Walsh, a WASH programme manager for Samaritan’s Purse in the Bahamas.

“It’s been wonderful being part of this project,” he said, “just seeing the community working together … everyone pulling together for the same goal just to get this community back up online and help restore the water supply.”

“We’re helping in Jesus’ Name to restore hope and bring this community back,” he said.

In addition to partnering with local authorities and contractors to upgrade the water distribution network, Samaritan’s Purse has helped establish COVID-19 mitigation efforts in the area. Our teams staffed water distribution points where we installed foot-operated handwashing stations and educated the public on virus prevention measures.

Samaritan’s Purse also distributed 1,500 COVID-19 prevention kits, which included face masks, hand sanitiser, handwashing soap, disinfecting supplies, and hygiene education materials.

n aerial view of our Emergency Field Hospital in the Bahamas.

An aerial view of our Emergency Field Hospital in the Bahamas.

We have been active in other water restoration projects in the Bahamas since Hurricane Dorian, providing more than 4.3 million litres of drinking water to hard-hit areas. We also have tarped more than 500 roofs, mudded out over 100 residences, repaired nearly 400 homes, and cleared out more than 67,000 cubic meters of storm debris.

Immediately after Hurricane Dorian, we transported 360 metric tons of relief supplies. We deployed an Emergency Field Hospital to the Bahamas in response to Hurricane Dorian and also set up one there this past autumn as a COVID-19 care centre.

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