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‘A long road to recovery.’ US preps aid for Bahamas, taking stock of Dorian’s damage (McClatchy)

September 3, 2019

From the article:

“The U.S. has deployed a disaster response team to the Bahamas to assess what is expected to be catastrophic damage to the island nation from Hurricane Dorian.

A USAID official told McClatchy that aid has been prepositioned in Miami, Houston, Barbados, Haiti and Dominica – including food, water buckets, hygiene kits, chainsaws and plastic sheeting for emergency shelter – awaiting shipment to the Bahamas once the agency’s disaster team completes its first assessment of the damage...

But presidents commonly delegate the U.S. response to disasters abroad, current and former officials said.

‘It really depends on the complexity and prominence of the emergency,’ said Jeremy Konyndyk, former director of USAID’s Office of US Foreign Disaster Assistance under Obama and now with the Center for Global Development. ‘This kind of a crisis is an extreme version of an otherwise standard crisis of hurricanes. Where the president’s role comes in is when there’s a particular outlier of an emergency, like the Haiti earthquake, when you had 200,000 dead, or the Ebola crisis in West Africa.

‘When you need the government to do something it’s not used to doing, that’s when you need presidential leadership,’ Konyndyk added. ‘We don’t know if this meets that threshold yet.’

In a statement to the press, USAID said that the government is committed to aiding the Bahamas as ‘the world’s humanitarian leader.’ The U.S. and Bahamian governments are in contact to coordinate the coming effort, the agency said…”

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Senior Policy Fellow