As Bishop Theophilus Rolle, living in the Bahamas, shared initial assessments with the World Council of Churches (WCC) in the wake of Hurricane Dorian, the WCC in turn called for prayers and solidarity across the world for the people suffering greatly during the storm.
Rolle is president of the Bahamas, Turks & Caicos Islands Conference of the Methodist Church.
He reported that there has been massive flooding throughout the island. “Hurricane Dorian has been an unimaginable living nightmare for many people; especially the 7,300 people living in Grand Bahama and Abaco in the northern Bahamas,” he wrote.
News reports indicated that five people are dead.
“Many families are in distress and some people are about to panic,” wrote Rolle in a letter to the WCC. “The island of Abaco was almost demolished yesterday by the ferocious 185 mph winds of Hurricane Dorian.”
The airport in Freeport was under more than 10 feet of water.
“Without question, the Bahamas is facing the unfolding of a national crisis,” wrote Rolle. “We will need tremendous help from our neighbours in the Caribbean region, the US, Canada, the United Kingdom, Europe and around the world.”
The storm will deal a severe economic blow to the country as well, Rolle said. “Widespread relief efforts will have to be organized,” he wrote. “Urgent housing is needed for many persons who lost their homes and all their belongings.”
WCC acting general secretary Isabel Apawo Phiri, in a letter of condolence and concern to people in the Bahamas, reached out in solidarity.
“We are bonded with you as we witness how Hurricane Dorian, a natural phenomenon of creation, has wreaked widespread havoc and destruction upon these islands in the Caribbean Sea,” she wrote. “Though hurricanes are part of the created order, and come with the natural rhythms of nature, the fury of these storms in recent times is cause for concern.”
Phiri cited humanity’s misuse of creation as a factor in the increasingly severity of hurricanes and other weather phenomena.
“Rest assured of our continued prayers and our tangible support as you rebuild and recover,” Phiri wrote. “We send also a message of condolence for the families that have lost one or more loved ones.”