Disney said the company is committed to helping Bahamas residents "rebuild their homes, their communities and their livelihoods"
The Walt Disney Company announced on Tuesday that it is donating more than $1 million to the Bahamas recovery efforts after Hurricane Dorian battered the area, killing at least seven people and destroying several homes, businesses and other buildings.
The company announced the donation in a statement, saying Disney is committed to helping Bahamas residents “rebuild their homes, their communities and their livelihoods.” The commitment includes $1 million for non-profit agencies leading recovery efforts as well as food and supplies. The donation is led by the Disney Cruise Line, which has several ties to the Bahamas, including Disney’s private island in the Bahamas called Castaway Cay.
“The Bahamas is such a special place to us and our guests, and we have watched the devastation created by Hurricane Dorian with concern and heartache,” Disney Cruise Line president Jeff Vahle said in the statement.
“We stand with the Bahamian people, and especially those in Abaco and Grand Bahama, as they recover from the worst storm to ever make landfall in The Bahamas. As the needs in these communities are assessed, we are prepared to aid the relief and recovery efforts through funding, the provision of supplies and by providing support to our Bahamian Crew Members.”
Hurricane Dorian made landfall in the Bahamas on Sunday, causing “extreme destruction.” As of Wednesday morning, the storm had killed at least seven people, according to CNN, and is moving north toward the east coast of the United States. Hurricane Dorian ravaged the Bahamas for over 36 hours, packing deadly floodwaters, heavy rain and fierce winds, the Washington Post reported.
Among the dead is an 8-year-old boy who likely drowned as his family fled the storm in the Abaco Islands over the weekend.
“We are in the midst of a historic tragedy,” Bahamian Prime Minister Hubert Minnis said at a recent news conference, according to the New York Times. “Our focus is search, rescue and recovery. I ask for your prayers for those in affected areas and for our first responders.”
All known deaths have occurred on the Abaco islands near Grand Bahama and officials fear the death toll could rise, CNN reported.
Minnis said on Twitter that the U.S. Coast Guard has begun rescue operations in Abaco and those injured will be taken to New Providence.
“We have in place and are putting in place other critical measures to respond as rapidly as possible to reduce any suffering and pain. There are many difficult days, weeks and months ahead of us as a people and as a country,” he added in another tweet. “Parts of the island have been decimated by Hurricane #Dorian. There is severe flooding, severe damage to homes, businesses, other buildings and infrastructure.”
The National Hurricane Center announced on Tuesday that Dorian will slowly move north, close to the Florida east coast through Wednesday, and pass near the Georgia and South Carolina coasts Wednesday night and Thursday before going “near or over” the North Carolina coast on Thursday. North Carolina could see hurricane-force winds and the Florida coast could experience flash flooding.
Disney employees affected in the impacted areas of the Bahamas will be able to access relief resources, according to the statement. Officials added that they will continue to monitor the storm as it heads toward the U.S. and will coordinate with authorities on emergency response efforts.
“The Walt Disney Company stands with the people of The Bahamas affected by Hurricane Dorian,” Disney CEO Bob Iger said.
He added, “We hope our $1 million donation will provide much-needed relief and help our neighbors, colleagues, and all those impacted by this devastating storm begin the long process of recovery as they work to put their lives and communities back together.”