Cruise

MSC, Norwegian pledge support for Hurricane Dorian relief as death toll rises

Christian Fleetwood

Christian Fleetwood

At least 43 people are dead after Hurricane Dorian hit the Bahamas, and officials expect that number to rise as relief efforts continue.

Furthermore, more than 70,000 people are homeless on Grand Bahama and the Abaco Islands, after Hurricane Dorian – a category five storm – decimated the Bahamas.

“We certainly expect the death toll to rise. I can’t tell you what that would be, but we’re really worried about it,” Dr Ian Norton, manager of the World Health Organisation (WHO) emergency medical teams, told journalists in Geneva, Switzerland.

As rescue efforts continue to provide relief to the 76,000 people believed to be homeless and in need of help, according to a report by the United Nations, three more cruise lines have joined Royal Caribbean in pledging assistance to the Bahamas.

On Saturday (local time), the Bahamas Paradise Cruise Lines brought nearly 1,500 hurricane survivors – all either US citizens, residents, non-US citizens with visas or proper documentation to enter the US – who were left stranded in the Bahamas to Florida.

“Bahamas, we’re still with you,” the cruise line said in a Facebook post.

Adding to that, Norwegian Cruise Line announced the relaunch of Hope Starts Here, the company’s hurricane relief campaign in partnership with All Hands and Hearts.

Norwegian pledged a minimum of US$1 million toward immediate short-term relief for those affected by Hurricane Dorian.

It has also vowed to match donations dollar-for-dollar to assist with rebuilding efforts across the Bahamas, including debris clean-up and removal, and the delivery of supplies and temporary shelters.

“Our hearts are heavy after witnessing the impact and devastation caused by Hurricane Dorian across the Bahamas,” Norwegian president and CEO Frank Del Rio said.

“We have been cruising to these islands for over 50 years and remain committed to its wonderful people during this unprecedented event.

“Through our partnership with All Hands and Hearts, we vow to match all donations collected to support the country’s rebuilding efforts.”

To support the hurricane relief efforts of Hope Starts Here with a donation that will be matched by Norwegian, click here.

MSC Group has also pledged assistance to the people of the Bahamas.

A delegation of members of MSC Group’s US senior management team and leaders of the philanthropic MSC Foundation are on their way to Nassau for meetings with local officials, community leaders and relief and recovery organisations to identify relief needs that the Group can support.

In addition, MSC is providing and delivering modular housing for the population as well as making available MSC geared ships for cargo relief from the US to the Bahamas.

“It is heart-breaking to see the impact and devastation that Hurricane Dorian has brought over the Bahamas and its population. The thoughts and prayers of my entire family are with the people of the Bahamas and their families and loved ones,” Gianluigi Aponte, executive chairman and founder of MSC Group, said.

“As a family company and one that has lived off the sea for over 300 years, we are fully committed to supporting both immediate and longer-term relief and recovery efforts in the Bahamas. Our businesses have long been closely tied to the Bahamas and its people, with a rich history spanning over many decades.

“We now look forward to supporting their efforts to rebuild and recover in every way we can and through all our businesses.”

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