You will almost certainly have heard of the devastation that hurricane Dorian inflicted on the Bahamas last week. The hurricane hovered over the island for nearly two days, with wind gusting in excess of 200mph and a storm surge of over 7m along the northern coast.
This disaster has hit the poor disproportionately hard; communities with wooden houses, often shacks, have been devastated. Virtually all wooden structures have been flattened and many homes on the north side of the island were completely submerged.
The true extent of the damage Dorian has caused is yet unknown. Those I know on the ground have indicated deaths well beyond the 43 so far reported, it will certainly be in the 1000s.
Sylvia (my sister), Vicki, Luke, Dave and Gator who live, work and teach in the Bahamas are in a unique position to help; they can and are reacting rapidly to the changing needs and immediate requests for help.
Whilst the international aid agencies scramble into action, my sister oversaw the first flight that brought in insulin, baby food and, sadly, body bags. They were also the first to evacuate critically wounded people.
They are now bringing in solar panels so people can charge phones to coordinate emergency action, generators and tools so survivors can start to rebuild temporary structures.
While this team have already begun crucial aid work, they need more money to buy further supplies for this ongoing problem.
You can access our Justgiving page for updates and to donate to this important cause.
100% of any money you give will go toward buying supplies to help people survive and eventually rebuild. To ensure transparency we will upload all receipts here and maintain an accurate ledger that accounts for every penny.
The people of the Bahamas are desperate, they have survived a horrendous ordeal and will need continuing support to begin to rebuild their lives. Please contribute whatever you can to help.
Thanks in advance,
Dr Sylvia Bateman was raised on a farm in Somerset. She studied Biology at Newcastle University followed by a PhD in Agriculture at Nottingham University. In 1994 she qualified as a secondary school teacher and has taught Biology, Chemistry and Physics ever since. During her time at University, she was a passionate glider pilot, eventually becoming an instructor.
In 1998 she was asked to help run a new glider station in Jamaica. What set out to be a 6-month sabbatical, turned into 13 years teaching in Jamaica, while running the gliding station at the weekend.
Gliding in Jamaica did not turn out to be easy, with few air-fields and a rather lumpy countryside; she quickly decided she needed power. Through some shrewd bartering and various exchanges in expertise, from gardening to fixing stuff, Sylvia managed to get powered flying lessons for free. She obtained her Pilots License in 2001, found an old plane, and spent the next two years stripping it down to bare metal while she saved for a newly reconditioned engine. 1000 CDs later (very good for scraping off paint) and she emerged with a beautiful 'new' sleek plane, that weighed 136kg less - and at the time was the fastest Cessna 182 in Jamaica.
In 2013 Sylvia moved to Grand Bahamas to take up a new teaching job at the Lucaya International School and has lived there ever since.
So that's how a secondary teacher in the Bahamas owns a plane; which is very handy when a disaster strikes. She was amongst the first responders after Hurricane Matthew and was the first plane to bring aid to the Bahamas and rescue critically injured people after Dorian struck.
A water break before the team starts their next job.
A man with one leg enjoying a hot meal before we help to clean up the joints in his house so that new sheet rock can be added.
Great work by World Central Kitchen getting lots of hot food ready for dinner.
A generator ready to power an industrial vacuum to clean up this house.
Surveying the damage and working out the next steps.
A home missing part of its roof.
Emergency services are helping to distribute supplies while providing aid.
One of many boats that were destroyed by the hurricane.
Luke and Gator talking to residents of Sweeting Cay before distributing aid.
Arrival of relief boat, including generators and other essentials.
Gator Giving out donation bags.
Celia receiving generator at Sweeting Cay to be shared amongst the other residents
Another delivery of vital supplies flown in by Sylvia.
A local was very glad to recieve a generator to keep some fridges running for food and to power tools to build shelters.
The supply chain for deliveries relies on many volunteers and some rugged vehicles.
Sylvia helped fly someone with a broken hip out so that they could get medical treatment. She had a successful operation to give her a metal hip but is suffering from muscular problems as she could not get off the island for four days.
Sylvia with an early load of supplies on the runway.
A plane delivers much needed supplies.
Trees and rubble surround houses which have lost their roofs.
People recover items from a beached boat after Hurricane Dorian in Marsh Harbour on Thursday.
An aerial view of floods and damages from Hurricane Dorian on Freeport on Thursday.
A boat is seen washed up next to a building after Hurricane Dorian on Thursday.
A view of damages left by Hurricane Dorian in Marsh Harbour on Thursday.
People wait for a ride to Treasure Cay airport after Hurricane Dorian on Thursday
A view of Damage from Hurricane Dorian in Marsh Harbour on Thursday
An aerial view of damage caused by Hurricane Dorian is seen on Great Abaco Island on Wednesday.
An aerial view of damage caused by Hurricane Dorian on Great Abaco Island on Wednesday