By Rielle Creighton

COCONUT GROVE (CBSMiami) – Miami’s Mayor Francis Suarez says the city’s relief efforts for the Bahamas are being scaled up.

Miami has already delivered 67 pallets of food and supplies with the help of Norwegian Cruise Lines to the storm-ravaged Bahamas in the wake of Hurricane Dorian, Suarez says they’re working to deliver even more.

Suarez said the city is also ramping up its emergency response. Fifty first responders with Miami’s Urban Search and Rescue will deploy with the Coast Guard as early as Friday. They will head to the island in three phases, the first of which will be a real-time assessment of the situation on the ground and then they will escalate resources as needed for search and rescue.

The mayor said the force will be deployed without any federal reimbursement at taxpayer expense at least for now, but he says it’s a must-do.

“We just felt a moral obligation, frankly, to everything that we could do and we could do it without, A – diminishing our federal responsibilities that are in Orlando and B – without uh negatively impacting the budget which is the taxpayers of the city of Miami. Lives are at stake and you can’t put a price on lives,” said Suarez.

Rielle Creighton