New Haven welcoming Bahamian evacuees after Dorian

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FREEPORT, Grand Bahama (WTNH) — 76,000 Bahamians are homeless and many are still missing after Hurricane Dorian devastated the island. New Haven city officials say that Bahamian refugees are welcome here.

Today, the city launched a response effort similar to what was done two years ago after Hurricane Maria.

The Elm City is gearing up to help evacuees here in New Haven.

News 8’s Samaia Hernadez spoke to Maddie Kennedy. Kennedy grew up in the Bahamas and is currently a student at Quinnipiac University.

“Nothing like that has every hit the island before,” Kennedy told News 8 regarding the hurricane.

It was the first major storm that the QU freshman didn’t spend with her parents. “We kind of lost contact during the storm,” Kennedy said.

Their home is still standing because it is at a higher elevation, but that’s not the case for thousands of others.

The city of New Haven has launched a relief effort Monday to help Bahamian refugees – should they turn to the Elm City – with donated clothing, food, shelter, and other resources.

Rick Rontana, Emergency Operations Director for the city said in a press conference with Mayor Harp, “As you know, when things get tough, we kind of step in.”

New Haven Fire Chief John Alston said, “We have a very strong Caribbean community here in Connecticut and particularly in New Haven.”

Red Cross Workers are positioned in Florida where many Bahamian refugees are turning.

The Red Cross reports that as of Monday, $2 million in Red Cross aide is going into the Bahamas relief now.

It’s unclear how many will come to New Haven. 1,200 Maria evacuees sheltered in Elm city hotels, and about 300 children joined the school system after Maria.

“It is so devastating down there right now. They’re still doing damage assessment and rescue.”

– New Haven Fire Chief John Alston

Hartford nonprofits are also working to assist the relief efforts.

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