When Alison Hill landed in the Bahamas only days after Hurricane Dorian, destruction surrounded her. The LifeStraw managing director was on one of the first seaplanes to reach Grand Bahama Island, and she was equipped with LifeStraw products and other water filtration systems to provide survivors with safe drinking water.
In less than one day, the white sandy beaches of the Bahamas were covered in debris and carnage. On Sunday, Sept. 1, Hurricane Dorian made landfall on the Abaco Islands, destroying trees, power lines, homes, the main airport terminal, hotels, people, and everything else in its path. It was the strongest hurricane on record to have hit the islands and one of the strongest Atlantic hurricanes recorded, according to reports.
Even almost a month later, 1,300 people are missing and more than 70,000 people need lifesaving assistance. The exact death toll is unknown, but is currently at 50.
Many outdoor brands have pitched in to help, but the greater industry can too. Here are a few ways to support LifeStraw, Katadyn, and other brands are helping in the Bahamas.
What LifeStraw is doing to help
LifeStraw's Hill reported that most people from Abaco were evacuated to shelvers in Nassau, and while most homes and structures are intact, but due to flooding, everything inside was destroyed. Power is intermittent and there's still no access to groundwater or surface water for drinking
So far, LifeStraw has sent 18 Community purifiers to the islands. The high-capacity vats hold 13 gallons of water and remove viruses, bacteria parasites, and microplastics
More LifeStraw teams are dispatching over the next several weeks to deliver supplies and the brand is calling on the outdoor industry for generous donations. Supplies needed include:
- Sleeping pads
- Clothes for warm weather for kids and adults
- Shoes/sandals for kids and adults
- Outdoor games – schools won’t be back in session for months, and kids have very little to do/play with
- Outside the outdoor industry: Diapers, formula, baby clothes, hygiene items
- Logistics donations: If your product doesn’t fit this list, but you still want to help, sponsorship for shipping costs is in high demand
LifeStraw is working with Flexport.org and other distribution partners to collect products and ensure donations make it to those in need.
If you or your brand wants to donate supplies, email LifeStraw Social Impact Officer Kelly Hilovsky at email@example.com.
How Katadyn is helping
Since Hurricane Dorian hit, Katadyn Group has been supporting World Hope International's relief efforts in the Bahamas. Katadyn's Universal Aquifer units—solar-powered desalination systems—are being used to turn brackish wells into safe drinking water.
Katadyn knows the drill when it comes to relief efforts after natural disasters. For example, in Mexico, Katadyn worked closely with the government to help eradicate a blindness that was being caused by a bacteria in the drinking water. Over a decade, Katadyn has distributed thousands of Katadyn Drip Filters for homes throughout the country.
"We focus on these types of efforts because we know our products help people in need," Katadyn President Shawn Hostetter said. "We send our teams to help distribute products both to help in those efforts and to learn from them. We want to learn what we can be doing better from a product development standpoint, partnerships with relief agencies, governments, etc. and a distribution perspective."
Katadyn promotes the Kaizen culture, which means constant improvement.
"We take Kaizen to another level, going beyond just manufacturing processes," Hostetter said. "We want to constantly improve in all aspects of our company. Being close to the market is the best way to learn how we can improve."
Katadyn is directing people to donate to World Hope International.
What other brands are doing
- LuminAID is working with numerous partner organizations who are responding on the ground to get solar lanterns and phone chargers into the hands of people who've lost everything. Through LuminAID's Give Light, Get Light program, you can sponsor solar lanterns and phone chargers to be sent to the Bahamas. Learn more here.
- MPOWERD is selling Luci lights for $10 to be sent to storm survivors. MPOWERD also offers corporate orders if you email impact@MPOWERD.com. "We are working with several disaster relief groups and organizations to bring our lights to those affected. We need your help to deliver as many lights as possible to those in the path of the storm."
- Huk Fishing worked with a group of outfitters and anglers to privately deliver 10,000 pairs of Huk shoes to doctors and community leaders on various islands to help combat infections in the Bahamas after Dorian. Learn more here.
- Revel Gear contacted its competitors MPOWERD, LuminAID, Black Diamond, Biolite, and Princeton Tec to collect relief funds, allocate products, and send it through trusted organizations like SOL Relief. If you or a brand you know would like to get involved, contact Brian Plavnicky at firstname.lastname@example.org.
- BioLite recently set up an Emergency Energy Fund through a partnership with Mercy Corps. By giving $15, an individual can get a personal solar light. By giving $78, communities get clean-burning biomass cookstoves. Give here.
- Columbia Sportswear until Sept. 30 is matching any in-store donations at all its retail and outlet stores in the U.S. dollar-for-dollar up to $50,000. All funds will go directly to the 2019 Atlantic Hurricane Season Recovery Fund of the Center for Disaster Philanthropy.