First DART contingent off to hurricane-ravaged Bahamas

Prime Minister Andrew Holness (left) and a member of Jamaica’s Disaster Assistance Response Team (DART) (Photo: Facebook @AndrewHolnessJM)

The first group of Jamaica’s Disaster Assistance Response Team (DART) was loaded with supplies and is en route to sections of The Bahamas worst hit by the passage of Hurricane Dorian.

Prime Minister Andrew Holness, who was present at the Alpha 1, Jamaica Defence Force (JDF) Manley base in Kingston on Saturday afternoon, called the 120-member strong team ambassadors to Jamaica and her neighbours in The Bahamas.

Photo: Facebook @AndrewHolnessJM

“I encouraged members of the DART to also look out for those Jamaicans in The Bahamas who need assistance,” he said.

Scope of DART’s mission

The DART dispatch, which is comprised mostly of members of the JDF’s newly formed Corps of Military Police, will assist in the distribution of relief supplies; the re-establishment of power supply in affected areas, among other critical duties.

Members of DART will be in The Bahamas for an initial period of 30 days.

Chief of Defence Staff Lieutenant General Rocky Meade greets Corporal Llamar Paisley from the newly formed Corps of Military Police (Photo: Sergeant Jason Lampart. Facebook @JDFSoldier)

“The Military Police are being deployed as a part of the Disaster Assistance and Recovery Team (DART) to the Bahamas in order to provide a Force Protection capability. This capability will aid in the overall effectiveness of relief and recovery operations,” the JDF wrote on its official Facebook page.

The DART dispatch will be in hurricane-ravaged Bahamas for an initial period of 30 days, Prime Minister Andrew Holness explains. (Photo: Facebook @AndrewHolnessJM)

Royal Canadian Air Force joins for logistical support

Prime Minister Holness expressed his gratitude to The Royal Canadian Air Force, which will be tasked with airlifting the DART troops and equipment to The Bahamas.

Barrels of diesel oil were among the supplies being loaded onto a jumbo jet, which the DART team will utilise to coordinate the relief effort in The Bahamas.

Captain Kyle Ferguson of the Royal Canadian Air Force (second left) discusses with Captain Wayne Barrett of the Jamaica Defence Force (right), the state of preparations for the Disaster Assistance Response Team (DART) deployment to the Bahamas. (Photo: Sergeant Jason Lampart. Facebook @JDFSoldier)

More than 70,000 people have been left homeless in The Bahamas in the aftermath of Hurricane Dorian — with the death toll hovering somewhere around 43, according to officials, and climbing steadily.