NEW YORK (WCBS 880) — New Yorkers on Wednesday began turning up at the consulate general of the Bahamas in Midtown to donate to those affected by Hurricane Dorian.
Lawrence Cartwright, the consul general of the Bahamas, says the scope of Dorian’s impact is still an unknown because the communication system is down in several spots and the help is greatly needed.
“We know everything at the place is devastated,” he told WCBS 880’s Mike Smeltz.
Locals showed up to donate clothing, water, food and other goods to help the victims of the hurricane while native Bahamians walked in to see if the consulate could connect them with their families to find out if they are alright.
“They need everything from water to houses,” Cartwright notes.
Hygiene kits, battery powered lamps, cots and tents are among some of the most requested items, but the consulate is looking for any and all donations that can be dropped off at their building on East 46th between Second and Third avenues.
Meanwhile, New York City has begun to send personnel to the southeastern United States to help with the response to Hurricane Dorian.
"We have sent New York Task Force One down into the southern states. Right now, they are staged in Florida, awaiting assignment," Emergency Management Commissioner Deanne Criswell said Wednesday.
The team will be moved once it's determined where they're needed most.
The Red Cross is also pitching in, sending hundreds of volunteers down south to operate shelters, deliver food and provide mental health support.
Thomas Von Essen, the FEMA regional administrator and former FDNY commissioner, says the impact of Dorian should serve as a reminder for every family to have a disaster plan in place.
"It's just sitting down with your family and thinking: What would we do if we have a fire? What would we do if we have a flood? What would we do if we had no electricity for 3 days?'" Von Essen said. "Do we have food? Do we have supplies? Will we be able to get out of our building?"
Seven years after Sandy, he says it's easy to become complacent.
Meanwhile, just days after sending resources to Florida, Gov. Andrew Cuomo on Wednesday also deployed 34 water rescue personnel to North Carolina to assist in the response to Hurricane Dorian, which is expected to come ashore early Friday morning.
"New York understands all too well the destruction that extreme weather can cause, and we will always step up to help our fellow states in times of need," Governor Cuomo said. "We have some of the best emergency response personnel and resources in the country and I'm confident this highly trained water rescue team will be a huge help to North Carolina's response and recovery efforts."
Dorian is moving parallel to the Florida coast with winds of 115 miles per hour.