City and county officials in Miami are showing support for the Bahamas in the wake of Hurricane Dorian, urging residents to donate supplies and calling for rescue teams to be sent to the island.
Miami-Dade County Mayor Carlos Giménez held a press conference Tuesday together with the Consul-General of the Bahamas in Miami Linda Mackey, and was joined by several county commissioners.
Mayor Giménez announced four locations accepting donations and said the county is planning to add more.
“We came forward to help our neighbors in North Florida after Hurricane Michael last year and Puerto Rico after Hurricane Maria two years ago,” said Giménez. “We know our residents will help the Bahamas.”
Consul-General Mackey said there are items being requested by the Bahamian government that are needed immediately, including water, non-perishable foods and baby items like diapers and formula and first-aid kits.
The full list of items is on the county’s website.
“We are in urgent need of help,” said Mackey. “As soon as the ports are open and everything else is ready and there’s a green light, we will let you know.”
Currently donation drop-off points are the Miami-Dade County Main Library and the Stephen P. Clark Center in downtown, the Joseph Caleb Center in Brownsville, and the Office of Emergency Management Warehouse in Doral.
Until the items are sent to the Bahamas, they will be stored at the Miami-Dade County Fair & Exposition.
And donations weren't the only type of relief urged by city and county officials. At a press conference at the City of Miami Fire Station 8 in Coconut Grove, Miami Mayor Francis Suarez said local rescue teams are preparing to provide aid on the island.
“Our fire department is now liaising with the coast guard to embed themselves with the coast guard and go to the Bahamas,” said Suarez.
The Miami-Dade Fire Rescue Urban Search and Rescue (USAR), a task force that specializes in search and rescue and disaster recovery in cooperation with the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), is hoping to collaborate with the Coast Guard on relief efforts. President Donald Trump must give activation for that to occur.
Miami-Dade's task force is mostly made up of staff from Miami-Dade's Fire Rescue.
“I will be requesting of the President that he activate our USAR team,” said Suarez, "which is, in my opinion, the best team in the nation.”
WLRN's America's editor Tim Padgett contributed reporting.