Rihanna is has joined other celebrities to offer support to the Bahamas after the country was rocked by “catastrophic damage” from Hurricane Dorian.
The 31-year-old singer and and fashion mogul hit up social media to note how her charity, the Clara Lionel Foundation, was trying to figure out “how best we can help” after the storm, which hit the Caribbean nation’s largest island at Category 5, wrecked homes, shredded roofs, tumbled cars and toppled power poles for more than 40 hours.
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Red Cross spokesman Matthew Cochrane said more than 13,000 houses, or about 45% of the homes in Grand Bahama and Abaco, were believed to have been severely damaged or destroyed. U.N. officials said more than 60,000 people on the hard-hit islands will need food, and the Red Cross said some 62,000 will need clean drinking water.
“What we are hearing lends credence to the fact that this has been a catastrophic storm and a catastrophic impact,” he said.
In some parts of Abaco, “you cannot tell the difference as to the beginning of the street versus where the ocean begins,” Bahamas Prime Minister Hubert Minnis said. According to the Nassau Guardian, he called it “probably the most sad and worst day of my life to address the Bahamian people.”
Bahamian officials said they received a “tremendous” number of calls from people in flooded homes. One radio station said it got more than 2,000 distress messages, including reports of a 5-month-old baby stranded on a roof and a woman with six grandchildren who cut a hole in a roof to escape rising floodwaters. At least two designated storm shelters flooded.
Others have begun to mobilize to help those in need. Celebrity chef José Andrés has reportedly arrived in the Bahamas on Sunday to prepare food and station food preparers in Freeport and other parts of Grand Bahama Island.
Rihanna, who is originally from Barbados, founded her charity in 2012 and the foundation previously donated to help survivors of 2013’s Typhoon Haiyan in the Philippines, and Hurricane Maria which ravaged Puerto Rico in 2017. The charity’s name is a tribute to Rihanna’s grandparents Clara and Lionel Braithwaite.
The Associated Press contributed to this story.