INTERNATIONAL REPORT—Hurricane Dorian battered the Bahamas over the weekend, making landfall as a Category 5 storm on Sunday. The projected path of the now-Category 3 storm has also changed to only skim the East Coast of the U.S.
As part of its continuing coverage, Hotel Business is tracking Dorian’s effect on the hospitality industry in the hurricane’s path.
Northwest and Central Bahamas Hit Hard
In the most recent statement from the Bahamas Ministry of Tourism & Aviation (BMOTA), the storm made landfall at around noon on Sunday, September 1, over Marsh Harbour on Great Abaco where it has severely damaged parts of the island’s chain. Grand Bahama Island experienced catastrophic winds and storm surge as it inched westward at about one mile per hour.
Severe and widespread flooding in parts of the Northwest and Central Bahamas was reported. The Bahamian capital of Nassau, as well as neighboring Paradise Island, remained open but are experiencing periods of rain. Islands in the Southeastern and Central Bahamas remained unaffected, including The Exumas, Cat Island, San Salvador, Long Island, Acklins/Crooked Island, Mayaguana and Inagua.
“Our thoughts and prayers are with our neighbors in two of our northern islands, Abaco and Grand Bahama Island, which have been directly impacted by Hurricane Dorian,” said BMOTA Director General Joy Jibrilu. “At this time, we are doing everything we can to support these islands as first responders begin rescue efforts and assess damage. We are deeply concerned for the safety and well-being of all those in Abaco and Grand Bahama Island, and continue to be grateful that the majority of our 700 islands and cays have been unaffected.”
The Commission of the Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS) released its own statement: “The Commission of the Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS) monitors with much sadness the unfortunate passage of Hurricane Dorian over the islands of the Bahamas during the past two days. Hurricane Dorian made landfall in the Bahamas as a Category 5 hurricane on Sunday, September 1, packing maximum sustained winds of 185 mph. The Commission laments in particular the tragic loss of life brought about by the hurricane and conveys its deepest condolences to the relatives and friends of the deceased. The Commission is also mindful of the significant damage to physical infrastructure caused by the passage of the Category 5 storm, and sympathizes with those who may have suffered personal injury, or loss or damage to property. The people of the OECS region share the pain and suffering of the bereaved families and all others affected by this catastrophe, and join their governments in extending to the government and people of the Bahamas deepest condolences in this difficult period. Our prayers and thoughts are with everyone who has been affected by this disaster.”
Florida Awaiting Arrival
Although the projected path of Dorian has changed to only affect the eastern coast of the state, Floridians are still bracing for the potential damage the hurricane may bring.
Rosen Hotels & Resorts, which had previously offered reduced rates at its Florida properties for those in the storm’s path, reports that all of its hotels are at capacity through Tuesday, with vacancies starting Wednesday and through the weekend for evacuees.
Marriott Issues Statement
Marriott International has issued a statement for Hurricane Dorian: “We continue to monitor the path of Hurricane Dorian, and our hotels in the predicted path have implemented storm preparation protocols. We are in close contact with local authorities, and will take guidance and direction from them as the situation warrants. If it is necessary to evacuate and close hotels due to local authorities’ mandates or conditions, our teams are prepared to do so, and have been doing so at some locations. We encourage those planning to travel to the storm area to check news updates for the most current information, and amend plans accordingly. Hotels in the impacted area are reviewing their cancellation fees; details may vary by hotel.”
Kohler Deploys Relief Trailer
Kohler Co. has moved quickly to assist those along the projected path of Hurricane Dorian by providing a portable showering experience to Operation Blessing International (OBI), a nonprofit humanitarian organization with significant disaster relief experience.
OBI has already deployed the Kohler Relief Trailer into Floridian support of the organization’s volunteers who are in the area helping those in need. Kohler has also been coordinating with local distributors of its power generation products to move generators, parts and other emergency power equipment into the area.
“The health and safety of everyone who may be impacted by Hurricane Dorian is our primary concern and our thoughts are with everyone along the Atlantic coast,” said Charles Hunsucker, general manager, Kohlerpower systems. “We’re in a unique position because our power-generation products can help people during these unfortunate events. So, we’ve ramped up production and have been working closely with our distributors in Florida and other nearby markets to move as much emergency power equipment into the area as possible.”
The relief trailer offers seven showering stalls as well as sinks, faucets, charging outlets for mobile devices and flat-panel televisions so relief workers can stay up-to-date on news and other important updates. The trailer was designed to provide relief volunteers with a place to shower, refresh, recharge and return to their heroic cleanup and recovery efforts.
“We have a deep appreciation for the first responders and humanitarian organizations who are dedicated to helping people and saving lives in the wake of traumatic events like Hurricane Dorian,” said Cindy Howley, senior manager of stewardship, Kohler Co. “It’s a privilege to help support these individuals with the KohlerRelief Trailer.”