Speaker Carl Heastie today announced he will join the New York State Assembly Haitian Caucus, including Assemblymembers Michaelle Solages, Rodneyse Bichotte, Kimberly Jean-Pierre, Clyde Vanel and Mathylde Frontus, to assist in Hurricane Dorian relief efforts. The powerful storm devastated the Bahamas, regions in the Caribbean and along the Eastern Coast of the United States, and Assembly Majority is committed to supporting these affected areas.
The Assembly Majority will continue to work closely with the Consulate General of the Bahamas and the Bahamian American Association to address strategies needed to assist the impacted communities. Additionally, many Assembly Majority members' offices will host relief drives across New York to help Bahamians affected by Hurricane Dorian.
The road to recovery will be difficult for all who have been affected by this devastating storm as Dorian has decimated these areas, particularly the islands of Grand Bahama and Abaco – a portion of the island heavily populated by Haitian immigrants. Immediate assistance is greatly needed during this time as thousands are without clean drinking water, food, shelter and dry clothing.
"The devastation wrought by Hurricane Dorian on the Bahamas has been heartbreaking. These islands hold a special place in my heart as the place my paternal grandparents called home, and I have returned there often to visit friends and family," said Speaker Heastie. "The people of the Bahamas will undoubtedly face many challenges ahead, but New Yorkers are always ready to lend a helping hand. I am grateful and proud that the Assembly Majority never hesitates to help those in need, and we are confident in the resiliency of our brothers and sisters in the Caribbean."
"This disaster hit close to home for us all," said Assemblymember Bichotte. "A community known as the 'Mudd' located on the island of Abaco was built over decades by thousands of Haitian immigrants in search of a better life. The residential environment has now been completely reduced to rubble by the storm, where many of its residents remain unaccounted for. We play a vital role for this group of people – our voices strongly resonate for those who have been silenced."
"Suffering through natural disasters and dealing with the aftermath has become the norm for the Caribbean Islands," said Assemblymember Solages. "Here in New York we stand with our Caribbean brothers and sisters and are committed and have the resources to help after the devastation to the Bahamas from Hurricane Dorian."
"In the coming days and weeks, we will continue to collect food, water and hygiene kits for the families of Bahamas," said Assemblymember Jean-Pierre. "Devastation like this is not new to the Caribbean – however, for many, the difficulty lies in the road ahead. We of the Haitian Caucus stand with all affected and will continue to show our support."
"The most urgent need at the moment is for food and clean water," said Assemblymember Vanel. "All help is welcomed as we come together in solidarity to support an island in great need. We are not looking at any one individual but rather a country left in destitution. It is estimated that over 70,000 people on the island are in need of sustenance."
"As extreme weather continues to have disastrous effects throughout the world, it has become more and more important to band together to help those most affected," said Assemblymember Frontus. "I am proud that we are taking action to support our Bahamian neighbors by partnering with Speaker Heastie to provide relief to the areas hit hardest by this latest storm."
Recovery and rebuilding will not happen overnight, but the Assembly Majority is committed to helping those affected.