CHARLESTON, W.Va. (WOWK) – A Charleston pilot is rallying to get aid to the Bahamas. Mike Plante is the president of an organization called Bahamas Habitat. The group was founded in 2007 to mesh volunteer pilots and planes with humanitarian needs in the Bahamas. Right now he and other members of the group are building a plan to help the region recover.
“It is really bad down there,” Plante said.
The scope of the devastation is hard to comprehend.
“The airports are closed. We can’t get on the ground there to fly in yet. We are waiting for the water to recede and some infrastructure to be restored.”
He said the focus will be on taking supplies that will help people rebuild.
“Right now the need is for chainsaws, generators, water, batteries, battery-powered tool those kinds of things to work on the cleanup and aftermath,” he explained. Volunteer pilots are gathering materials in their communities now. Those supplies will be moved to Orlando, Florida and then transported to the islands as soon as possible. They will also be helping to get people to safety.
“There aren’t places right now to take people that they are rescuing on the roof of their houses or just in the water, there are very few places to get them to,” Plante said.
Bahamas Habitat is working with local authorities to identify the areas with the greatest need. They are hoping the smaller planes will be able to access areas that larger planes cannot. It is a labor of love for friends many miles away. “The people of the Bahamas are much like West Virginians, they are welcoming, a lot of them don’t necessarily have a lot but they are willing to share it with whoever has need.” If you are interested in donating toward the cause you can visit their their GoFundMe page.