Distress And Desperation In The Bahamas As Dorian Death Toll Expected To Keep Rising

By Samantha Raphelson

Haitian Nicole Guillaume, who was nursing her 2-year-old son while waiting with several hundred other Haitians and Bahamanians at the port of Marsh Harbour, fainted in the heat. Guillaume hopes to board a boat to Nassau after the town was decimated by Hurricane Dorian.

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Editor’s note: A warning that some of the images contain graphic content.

Conditions are growing increasingly dire in the Bahamas almost a week after Hurricane Dorian first made landfall in the Caribbean nation.

Food, water and other supplies are rapidly running out and residents are waiting desperately to evacuate the devastated islands of Abaco and Grand Bahama. Officials announced late Friday that the death toll had risen to 43 — 35 in Abaco and eight in Grand Bahama.

“We acknowledge that there are many missing and that the number of deaths is expected to significantly increase,” Prime Minister Hubert Minnis said in a statement late Friday. “This is one of the stark realities were are facing in this hour of darkness.”

Several hundred desperate Haitians and Bahamanians wait at the port of Marsh Harbour in the hopes of boarding a boat to Nassau after the town was decimated by Hurricane Dorian on Abaco in the Bahamas.

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Malida Chereme, 67, washed water over her face to cool off as she and several hundred Haitians and Bahamanians wait at the port of Marsh Harbour in the hopes of boarding a boat to Nassau. “I’m going anywhere I find,” Chereme said. “I have a visa for Miami.”

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Bill Albury is among the many residents who lost everything in the storm. The sixth generation Bahamian spoke to Weekend Edition last Sunday as the storm was approaching his home in Marsh Harbour, and again on Friday, soon after he arrived in Palm Beach, Fla., on a private charter plane.

“Other than a few aches and pains, physically I’m gonna be fine, but my wife and I have been through quite a trauma and not only us, but everyone in the Abacos are quite distressed and devastated,” he said. “Never seen anything like this in my entire life of 60 odd years.”

Albury, his wife and four pets escaped their crumbling home during the eye of the storm, and sheltered in a neighbor’s home, one of the few on Marsh Harbour that survived.

A large boat is perched next to Scotiabank far from the port of Marsh Harbour after Hurricane Dorian decimated the town on Abaco in the Bahamas.

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Residents of Marsh Harbour who survived Hurricane Dorian leave messages on their door on the island of Abaco in the Bahamas.

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Judy Roker, (left), chats with friend John Battles Tate after stocking up her car with basic provisions of water, tissue and canned goods from Abaco Groceries in Marsh Harbour, after they survived Hurricane Dorian on Abaco in the Bahamas on Friday.

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National Security Minister Marvin Dames said that the runway at Grand Bahama airport has reopened, as well as all ports on that island and Abaco, according to the Associated Press, and hundreds of Bahamians have crowded those areas looking for anyway out. As many Bahamians expressed ire over the meager pace of relief efforts, Dames urged residents to be patient as officials struggle to reach areas isolated by severe flooding and debris.

“It’s going to get crazy soon,” Serge Simon, 39, told the AP as he waited with his wife and two sons, 5 months old and 4, at the port in Great Abaco. “There’s no food, no water. There are bodies in the water. People are going to start getting sick.”

Haitian Amalia Calixte, 88, is unable to walk and is waiting near the Marsh Harbour port to board a boat to Nassau after the town was decimated by Hurricane Dorian on Abaco in the Bahamas.

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Laura, Lyana and Tristan, (left to right), wait with their mother Roselie Petit and several hundred Haitians and Bahamanians wait at the port of Marsh Harbour in the hopes of boarding a boat to Nassau after the town was decimated by Hurricane Dorian.

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While no official evacuations have been launched, the Royal Bahamas Defense Force helped people fill extra seats on a ferry that arrived in Abaco to pick up staff and another boat that sailed there to drop off port-a-potties and heavy equipment, the AP reported.

A number of countries and international organizations, including the United Nations, the U.S. government, the British Royal Navy and American Airlines — have also organized to bring aid and supplies to the hardest hit areas.

Search and rescue missions continue five days after the Category 5 storm struck and lingered, its 185-mile per hour winds destroying large swaths of Abaco and Grand Bahama. The U.S. Coast Guard said it has rescued 239 people so far and is still looking for survivors.

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Tim Sands leaves a note for his relatives hoping to find a clue as to their whereabouts after the town of Marsh Harbour was decimated by Hurricane Dorian on Abaco in the Bahamas.

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Haitian Manes Lundy wipes off a pair of new shoes that he procured after all his belongings were destroyed during Hurricane Dorian in the town of Marsh Harbour on Abaco in an area called The Mudd. Mudd is home to about 8,000 Haitians. “I have plenty of family dead here,” Lundy said. That is the body of my cousin Doudoune Manes, but I don’t have a way to bury her.”

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Dorian’s wind was so powerful that one of Albury’s shuttered windows broke. As the pressure increased inside, their entire house began to come apart.

“Once we released the window and the pressure changed inside the house, it was like diving to depths that you couldn’t imagine. Your eardrums felt like they were caving in,” Albury said. “And then we started to notice that parts of the house were coming from the upstairs to the downstairs.”

The force of the wind was so strong that Albury said he and his wife couldn’t open their back door to reach a concrete bunker underneath the house. As they stood in that tiny alcove near the back door, Albury said they had just about given up, until the winds weakened in the eye of the storm.

“We were praying and hugging and thinking that it was maybe a farewell,” he said. “But I honestly still had faith, even though my wife might have not felt the same way I encouraged her to hang in, and luckily something changed.”

Geno Raymonville and Medilia Raymonville, left and right, and several hundred Haitians and Bahamanians wait at the port of Marsh Harbour in the hopes of boarding a boat to Nassau after the town was decimated by Hurricane Dorian.

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The Royal Bahamanian Defence Force guards the port where several hundred desperate Haitians and Bahamanians wait at the port of Marsh Harbour in the hopes of boarding a boat to Nassau after the town was decimated by Hurricane Dorian on Abaco in the Bahamas.

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Source:: https://www.npr.org/2019/09/07/758585080/distress-and-desperation-in-the-bahamas-as-dorian-death-toll-expected-to-keep-ri?utm_medium=RSS&utm_campaign=world

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