NASSAU, Bahamas—Thousands of hurricane survivors are filing off boats and planes in the capital of the Bahamas, facing the prospect of starting their lives over but with little idea of how or where to even begin, after Hurricane Dorian laid waste to their homes, September 1.
Some sat in hotel lobbies as they tried to figure out their next step. Others were taken by bus to shelters jammed to capacity. Some got rides from friends or family who offered a temporary place to stay.
“No one deserves to go through this,” 30-year-old Dimple Lightbourne said, blinking away tears.
Dorian devastated the Bahamas’ Abaco and Grand Bahama Islands, leaving at least 50 dead, and 70,000 homeless.
Pastor Randy Crowe and his wife, Paula, refurbished a small cottage in Abaco 12 years ago and had been using the home as a retreat for pastors and missionaries.
That home was destroyed by Dorian (pictured below).
But despite their own losses, the Crowes are focused on orchestrating and coordinating relief efforts to Abaco.
Crowe, who directs a ministry called Island Outreach, is currently in Florida gathering food and medical supplies to bring to the people of Abaco. As a pilot, he’s awaiting clearance from the government to begin his relief flights. In the meantime, he’s coordinating supply flights with other pilots.
The government has estimated that up to 10,000 people from the Abaco islands alone will need food, water and temporary housing. Officials are considering setting up tent or container cities while they clear the country’s ravaged northern region of debris so people can eventually return.
ABWE is partnering with the Crowes in relief efforts to help meet some of these needs.
Additional funds will also be used to help Tim and Kathleen Watson, missionaries serving as teachers at Agape Christian School on Abaco Island.
While the Watsons were able to evacuate Abaco before the storm, video footage showed that their home, school, and affiliated church have sustained major damage.
But despite losing their earthly possessions, the storm brought them one joyful surprise in the midst of the chaos—a baby boy, Kade Robert Watson—who was born during their evacuation. Now the Watsons need a place to bring their baby home to.
“The true depth of the devastation in Abaco and Grand Bahama is still unfolding,” says Sadye Francis, director of a nonprofit organization on the ground in the Bahamas.
Will you join ABWE in bringing relief supplies and helping our partners rebuild their lives and ministries after Dorian?
Note: With reporting from The Associated Press writers Gonzalo Gaudenzi and Danica Coto.
Photo: Homes lay in ruins one week after Hurricane Dorian hit The Mudd neighborhood, in the Marsh Harbor area of Abaco, Bahamas, Monday, Sept. 9, 2019. Dorian, the most powerful hurricane in the northwestern Bahamas’ recorded history, has killed at least 44 people in Bahamas as of Sunday, Sept. 8, according to the government. (AP Photo/Fernando Llano)
ABWE is working with Island Outreach, a partner ministry located in the Bahamas that is assisting with relief efforts. Island Outreach is orchestrating flights to bring supplies to the impacted areas.