Hurricane Dorian crashed into the Bahamas on September 1 as a category 5 hurricane with winds of up to 185 mph. After making landfall, Dorian stalled over the islands but maintained severe winds for two days. The storm brought 30 inches of rain and a storm surge as high as 23 feet in some places. A CAM team that traveled to the Bahamas to look into needs reported that the results look similar to a tsunami.
Most of the 76,000 residents on Grand Bahama and the Abaco Islands are left with damaged or demolished homes. The death toll stands at 52 but will likely climb. Over 1,000 people are still missing.
In one village, residents sought shelter in a church house during the hurricane, but as the water rose, they climbed into the rafters to escape drowning. One family recalled how the storm sounded like wolves howling as they huddled in their house. They watched in disbelief as their neighbour’s roof was ripped off, knowing the residents were still in the house.
As CAM contacts investigated needs, they saw buildings blown apart, boats washed inland, and trees flattened. A grocery store looked as though water had rushed through and flushed everything out onto the parking lot. In one village, shipping containers from the dock washed inland, sweeping houses off their foundations and piling rubble on the far side of the village. In another area, acres and acres of houses are leveled. Officials fear many missing people are under the rubble.
“Electricity will be off for months and the islands are wrecked,” reported a CAM staff member. “They will be without jobs for a long time. There is very little insurance and a shortage of cleanup labour.”
CAM plans to help with what will likely be months of cleanup. Resources are not readily available to the islands, making the cleanup job a bigger challenge than usual. Aside from cleaning up debris, houses need to be mucked out from the flooding. This may also develop into a rebuilding project.
Along with meeting physical needs on the islands, CAM plans to distribute Christian literature. Many storm survivors are open to truth, and we want to seize this wonderful opportunity for spiritual interaction.
Pray for the people affected by this mammoth storm. Many lost all they had. Pray also for our staff members and volunteers as they seek to be the hands and feet of Jesus at a time when people’s hearts are crying out in grief and loss.
If you wish to help, your contribution will be appreciated. God bless you!