Local effort aims to help Bahamians in need after Dorian

Miami's Global Empowerment Mission moves to deliver aid to Moore's Island

MOORE'S ISLAND, Bahamas – Hurricane Dorian's eye spared Moore's Island, one of the districts of the Bahamas, on the Abaco Islands. Amid the massive clean-up, the tiny fishing community of about 700 made room for nearly 500 evacuees from devastated areas.

Space is cramped, the power has not been fully restored, there is no running water and another tropical storm is threatening to affect the area that suffered an estimated $7 billion in damage. Renne Rusee is among the ​​​Marsh Harbour ​​​​evacuees who are waiting for help. 

"I don't wish that on my worst enemy," Rusee said, adding that she still sees victims' bodies in the water when she closes her eyes. 

The official death toll stands at 50, but authorities expect it to increase, as 1,300 remain listed as missing.  Michael Capponi, of Global Empowerment Mission, a Miami-based non-profit organization, is running an operation to help survivors like Rusee. 

"If you don't put attention on them, then they will be completely forgotten," Capponi said. 

Jonathan Stewart, a Moore's Island resident, said most of the help is coming from the United States, and they are still waiting for Bahamian authorities to come back. Dalson Stewart, the island's chief councilor, said the need for more food is dire. 

The John Paul DeJoria, a cutter class vessel owned and operated by the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society, is a 110-foot decommissioned Coast Guard cutter, and a floating command center loaded with four tons of relief supplies. 

Bob Pudney, of Blue Tide Marine, a group of retired U.S. Navy SEALs, is providing disaster response with the help of Tropic Ocean Airways, a Fort Lauderdale-based seaplane charter.

"We can come in by parachute," Pudney said. "We can come in by boat."

Capponi is asking the public to join their effort. For more information about GEM or to donate to the organization, click here for the site's links to Cash App, Venmo and PayPal

About the Authors:

Louis Aguirre is an Emmy-award winning journalist who anchors weekday newscasts and serves as WPLG Local 10’s Environmental Advocate.

The Emmy Award-winning journalist joined the Local 10 News team in 2013. She wrote for the Miami Herald for more than 9 years and won a Green Eyeshade Award.