BAHAMAS STRONG originated from the unprecedented private sector response to Hurricane Dorian. It emerged in September 2019 as people from all walks of life teamed up to lead the way in helping the residents of Abaco and Grand Bahama who were in such dire need.
The Core Group, as BAHAMAS STRONG was first known, spearheaded coordination of much of the private sector response to Hurricane Dorian. From September 1-13, 2019, in particular, the group organized international emergency first responders, air relief and evacuation, marine relief and evacuation, evacuees’ registration and processing, food and hygiene packs, medical treatment and support, emergency sheltering, long term housing assistance, pet supplies, and warehousing and logistics for global aid.
The Core Group also took on the initial coordination of the international NGO community. Its many representatives arrived in The Bahamas to help days after Dorian’s landfall, finding little structure or organization to unite them or maximize their impact. In the vacuum, The Core Group filled a coordinating role.
From their emergency focal activities, marine response for IDEA Relief and the eponymous Bahamas Disaster Housing Assistance, new Bahamian NGOs were born.
The Core Group has continued to work on collaboration and match-making for the many entities contributing to recovery and reconstruction. In January 2020, during exercises to formalize for the future, The Core Group registered BAHAMAS STRONG and rebranded itself. Happy Hall, Karla Wells-Lisgaris, and Susan Holowesko Larson are its founding directors of record.
From inception BAHAMAS STRONG has positioned itself as the sum of many parts. Nearly 40 Bahamian businesses, NGOs, and countless individuals immediately aligned with the private sector response to Hurricane Dorian, creating a powerful network of action and influence. What they accomplished in such a short period of time was precedent-setting. Collaboration will continue to be key to BAHAMAS STRONG’s ethos.
BAHAMAS STRONG will collaborate with the Government of The Bahamas (GOB), and, as far as practical, align itself with GOB’s current six thematic focal points for recovery: Economy, Education, Environment, Health, Housing, Infrastructure.