Puerto Rico, Florida, and the Carolinas got relatively lucky with Hurricane Dorian. The Bahamas didn't. The massive storm made landfall on the island chain as a Category 5, all but destroying the major islands of Grand Bahama and Abaco. In a country that relies on tourism for roughly half of its gross domestic product, that's a genuine crisis.
With the death toll currently at 50 and expected to rise, the island nation is now in the beginning stages of a years-long recovery effort that will cost billions of dollars. All hope is not lost, however, and you can be a part of that healing.
How You Can Help
First: donate. The government has set up a relief page with all the information you need on how to aid in what's sure to be a long road to recovery, with monetary contributions being the primary goal. The National Emergency Management Agency, the Bahamas Red Cross Society, and National Association of the Bahamas are among the trusted organizations accepting donations, and instructions on how to do so can be found in the previous link. Specific goods may also be donated — the full list includes everything from water and baby formula to plywood and first-aid kits — though two items cannot be accepted: used clothes and old mattresses.
Make or Keep Your Vacation Plans
As The Bahamas embarks on this long road of recovery, there's something else you can do to help: visit. Not for nothing is the beautiful island chain a tourist hotspot, and it needs vacationers now more than ever.
Keep in mind that The Bahamas is made up of 700-plus islands and cays, and many of its most popular destinations were unaffected by the hurricane. The Bahamas Ministry of Tourism and Aviation is asking travelers to follow through on all existing plans to visit the islands that remain open, of which there are many: Nassau, Paradise Island, the Exumas, Cat Island, Eleuthera, Harbour Island, Rum Cay, and the Berry Islands, to name just a few.
All major airports outside of Grand Bahama and Abaco are open, ditto the ports in Nassau; similarly, almost all of the Bahamas' hotel rooms were untouched. If you already have plans to visit or are still searching for a vacation destination in the coming months, consider giving your tourism dollars to a country in need.
It's rare that you can take a vacation while also helping a country recover from a natural disaster, making this the perfect time to turn your tourism into a force for good.