Hurricane Relief Supplies Donated By Keys Residents Headed To Bahamas

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KEY WEST (CBSMiami/FKNB) – Nine Royal Bahamas Defence Force vessels are departing Key West Friday night and returning to the Bahamas with one ship carrying relief supplies donated by Florida Keys residents and businesses for Bahamians affected by Hurricane Matthew.

Pallets stacked high with supplies collected from around the Keys were loaded Friday afternoon at the U.S. Navy’s Truman Harbor pier in Key West, where the vessels took refuge from Matthew earlier this week.

“In less than 24 hours we’ve gathered over 25,000 bottles of water, thousands of diapers — there’s food, there’s tools, there’s all types of stuff — to get to the Bahamians,” said Chuck Lindsey, city manager of the Middle Keys’ Marathon, who coordinated the collection effort.

Bottled water is loaded on a Royal Bahamas Defence Force ship Friday, Oct. 7, 2016, in Key West, Fla. In less than 24 hours, Florida Keys residents donated some 25,000 bottles of water as well as diapers and other relief supplies which are to be transported to needy Bahamians. Nine Defence Force vessels took refuge at the U.S. Navy's Truman Pier in Key West to escape the wrath of Hurricane Matthew. Key West was the only city in Florida, that fronts on the Atlantic Ocean, that was not under a tropical cyclone watch or warning due to Matthew. (Rob O'Neal/Florida Keys News Bureau)

Bottled water is loaded on a Royal Bahamas Defence Force ship Friday, Oct. 7, 2016, in Key West, Fla. In less than 24 hours, Florida Keys residents donated some 25,000 bottles of water as well as diapers and other relief supplies which are to be transported to needy Bahamians. Nine Defence Force vessels took refuge at the U.S. Navy’s Truman Pier in Key West to escape the wrath of Hurricane Matthew. Key West was the only city in Florida, that fronts on the Atlantic Ocean, that was not under a tropical cyclone watch or warning due to Matthew. (Rob O’Neal/Florida Keys News Bureau)

Lt. Commander Carlon Bethell of the Royal Bahamas Defence Force said the supplies would be distributed quickly to residents of the Bahamian islands most severely affected by the hurricane.

“The community here in the Florida Keys has been so kind and generous,” said Bethell. “All the supplies that have been loaded today will be taken to NEMA, the National Emergency Management agency, and they will distribute the supplies to all the islands as needed.”

Bottled water is loaded on a Royal Bahamas Defence Force ship Friday, Oct. 7, 2016, in Key West, Fla. In less than 24 hours, Florida Keys residents donated some 25,000 bottles of water as well as diapers and other relief supplies which are to be transported to needy Bahamians. Nine Defence Force vessels took refuge at the U.S. Navy's Truman Pier in Key West to escape the wrath of Hurricane Matthew. Key West was the only city in Florida, that fronts on the Atlantic Ocean, that was not under a tropical cyclone watch or warning due to Matthew. (Rob O'Neal/Florida Keys News Bureau)

Bottled water is loaded on a Royal Bahamas Defence Force ship Friday, Oct. 7, 2016, in Key West, Fla. In less than 24 hours, Florida Keys residents donated some 25,000 bottles of water as well as diapers and other relief supplies which are to be transported to needy Bahamians. Nine Defence Force vessels took refuge at the U.S. Navy’s Truman Pier in Key West to escape the wrath of Hurricane Matthew. Key West was the only city in Florida, that fronts on the Atlantic Ocean, that was not under a tropical cyclone watch or warning due to Matthew. (Rob O’Neal/Florida Keys News Bureau)

The Florida Keys and Bahamas have a historic bond, with many Keys families descended from residents of the nearby island nation.

Key West was the only Atlantic Ocean-front city in Florida that was not under a tropical cyclone watch or warning due to Hurricane Matthew.

(©2016 CBS Local Media, a division of CBS Radio Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Florida Keys News Bureau contributed to this report.)

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