When Hurricane Dorian hit the Bahamas on September 1, the impact quickly became catastrophic. The Bahamas Prime Minister, Dr Hubert Minnis, said that the damage is “unprecedented.” A reporter present described the scene as “pure hell."
The world hasn’t closed its eyes and ears when it comes to the harrowing circumstances faced by the islands of the Bahamas. India too has now joined in the relief effort.
On September 8, the country announced a disaster relief aid of USD$1 million to help those affected by the hurricane.
Raveesh Kumar, Ministry of External Affairs spokesperson, announced the news on Twitter. He wrote that India is standing “in solidarity with the friendly people of The #Bahamas.”
India and the Bahamas have been friends for a while now. In a 2018 report released by the Ministry of External Affairs, the government spoke of a “convergence of views of various important contemporary issues.”
“The Bahamas has consistently supported Indian candidates, unilaterally or reciprocally, to various UN and other international bodies,” the report read.
They also noted strong bilateral trade between the two countries. The highest recorded total– $2.8 billion in 2012-13–included the trade of minerals, chemicals, ships, and aircrafts.
When it comes to Hurricane Dorian, the numbers speak for themselves. At least 45 people have been declared dead and over 70,000 residents are in need of food and shelter. According to the BBC, over 90 percent of the infrastructure in the Abaco Islands, located in the northern Bahamas, is destroyed.
The extent of the damage has come to the United States, where at least two people have died and thousands have faced a power-cut. Canada, too, has felt the destruction. CBS News reports that winds reached Nova Scotia as of September 8, and hundreds of thousands of homes and businesses have lost power.
But there are some who find the relief aid to be problematic. Several Indians replied to Kumar’s tweet pointing out that there are several domestic problems within the country, for which the government is allegedly not doing enough for. The criticism comes as Kashmir continues to be a contentious point, with violence in the region on the rise after India revoked the country’s special status. In other parts of India, severe flooding and droughts have ravaged infrastructure and homes.