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Volunteers launch large-scale Hurricane Dorian relief effort in Sanford

14,000 pounds of supplies loaded onto A-320 Airbus

SANFORD, Fla. – Hurricane Dorian relief efforts are ramping up in Sanford as several missions bound for the Bahamas are expected to depart Tuesday.

Just after sunrise, a group of physicians from AdventHealth will prepare to head back to the Bahamas to assess the island nation's hospitals and determine how to best support rebuilding.

Dr. Alric Simmonds returned from the first mission over the weekend and described the conditions on Grand Bahama and Abaco islands as worse than he first imagined.

"You see the devastation with whole communities of roofs gone, whole tops of houses gone," ​​​​​​Simmonds said. "Everywhere you walk there are planks and nails You literally have to watch every single foot when you get into these areas that were residential."

For Tuesday's mission, the doctors are bringing medical supplies to the hardest-hit areas and are joined by an architect and a construction project manager.

"We want to be certain that we are lock in step with the Bahamian government to make sure that we are supplying what they need so we can be a blessing to the Bahamian people," Simmonds said.

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Also early Tuesday, Florida-based airline Air Unlimited said it will be flying its largest Hurricane Dorian relief effort to-date.

According to the company, 14,000 pounds of supplies are being loaded onto an A-320 Airbus donated by Allegiant Airlines.

Air Unlimited said up to three large-scale flights are arranged to land in Governor's Harbor in Eleuthera, Bahamas on Tuesday.

"Not that we're starting to get basic shelter, they're asking us for more specific items," Air unlimited co-founder Mark Neubauer said. "Generators, means of communication, building materials and things of that nature."

Since Hurricane Dorian swept through the Bahamas, the death toll has continued to rise as search and rescue operations continue. Hundreds remain missing and Bahamian officials have said the total number of missing may be unknown for weeks.

Neubauer described the conditions as "apocalyptic."

"They are living in absolute survival mode," Florida Rep. (District 29) Scott Plakon said. 

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