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Published: Thursday, September 05, 2019 @ 1:33 PM
— With pictures showing immense devastation in parts of the Bahamas from damage done by Hurricane Dorian, Sen. Rick Scott (R-FL) on Thursday said the U.S. Congress should vote on a plan to redirect some foreign aid - instead using it to help with recovery efforts in the islands off Florida's east coast.
"At times of crisis, we come together," said Scott in a written statement. "That’s exactly what we’re going to do to help our Bahamian brothers and sisters."
As for foreign aid, Scott says money going to Yemen, Cuba, Syria, China, North Korea, and Russia be evaluated, and possibly directed to the Bahamas instead.
Scott also wants the Peace Corps to stop all activities in China, and use those resources for recovery in the Bahamas.
At times of crisis, we come together. That’s exactly what we’re going to do to help our Bahamian brothers & sisters.— Rick Scott (@SenRickScott) September 5, 2019
I’m working on a few proposals that we can get done on the federal level to help the Bahamas recover & rebuild.
Read more: https://t.co/oYCxl0v0n6
Coast Guard warns boaters not to travel to the Bahamas until ports deemed safe https://t.co/FoTLk1jGQE— WSVN 7 News (@wsvn) September 5, 2019
According to figures provided by Scott's office, the amount of aid that the U.S. is providing to those countries is around $170 million total for 2019.
While there are no estimates on the devastation from Dorian, the photos and video from several islands in the northwest part of the island chain present a terrible picture of destruction.
AFTERMATH: Aerial footage of the Bahamas' Abaco Islands dramatically illustrates the widespread damage and destruction caused by deadly Hurricane Dorian. https://t.co/AZWVlmavkC pic.twitter.com/4pSRVsmWLr— ABC News (@ABC) September 5, 2019
The latest update from @USCGSoutheast says Coast Guard crews have rescued 114 people and 6 pets in the Bahamas since Hurricane Dorian began. (Pictures Courtesy: @uscoastguard by Seaman Erik Villa Rodriguez) pic.twitter.com/OkbPaB1rKV— Liz Crawford WTSP (@LizCrawfordWTSP) September 5, 2019
The call by Scott to find ways to divert foreign aid to the Bahamas comes a day after the Florida Republican joined with Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) to ask President Donald Trump to allow citizens of the Bahamas hit by the hurricane to come to the U.S. and live with family members.
"Many Floridians have family living there," Rubio wrote in a letter to the President signed by Sen. Scott as well.
It's not immediately clear if the Coast Guard will need an extra infusion of money because of their search and rescue activities in the Bahamas, which at some points are barely 60 miles from the coast of Florida.
The U.S. military has also been involved in recovery efforts, helping officials open airports - some of which were submerged after the hurricane strike.