In Bahamas, Battered Residents Ask: Where Is Our Government? – The New York Times

The Caribbean relief agency, made up of 18 countries, has been working behind the scenes on a response plan. It enlisted the assistance of foreign governments, the United Nations and aid organizations, said Elizabeth Riley, the organization’s deputy executive director.

“One country does not have sufficient assets,” she said. “We look to sister nations to provide them.”

Additionally, some aid is bypassing government distribution channels altogether, arriving on private planes and boats from people in South Florida and elsewhere who frequently visit the Bahamas to fish or vacation there. Cruise lines and airlines have also stepped in.

Glen Rolle, a Freeport resident, was one of a team of nearly 30 civilian volunteers who borrowed Jet Skis and tractors, fighting through raging winds and storm surges to pull the stranded people of Grand Bahama down from the roofs of their homes.

A fire truck went by and they flagged it down, Mr. Rolle said. They were told the crew could do nothing to help.

“We said, ‘Come on, man, what you all mean y’all can’t help? Y’all are supposed to be first responders,’” he said. “I just don’t understand. Where are our first responders?”

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