Hurricane Dorian: The storm I will never forget


Until 3 days ago, I used to look at natural disasters and think how happy I was that I didn't live in those parts of the world, that it wasn't happening to me. Until 3 days ago I, being a Bahamian, was not overly concerned about a simple hurricane. After all, most of us were raised and taught how to manage through your typical hurricane. So, why would I worry?

Three days ago, my entire perspective on hurricanes was altered beyond recognition. Everything I knew about hurricanes was tossed out the door as I watched Hurricane Dorian demolish parts of the country I grew up in. I am currently studying abroad so, I could only watch as the island of Abaco was completely flattened and Grand Bahama was continuously battered for more than 24 hours. The longest standout ever. Never before have I witnessed a hurricane that just became stationary. My heart dropped as soon as I checked the forecast and saw those scornful stats, 0mph. What kind of category 5 hurricane refuses to move? How was it even possible.

Before and After of Grand Bahama


If you are wondering why I was so worried when I was not even there, I will tell you that I am and will always be Bahamian. Like so many other Bahamians living around the world, we could only watch as our homeland took the beating of a lifetime. The foreign news stations had no real idea what was happening, so most of us took to social media to contact friends and family; only to see hundreds of distress messages, video and voice notes, all crying for help. People were begging to be rescued from floods and homes that had collapsed. All we could do as Bahamians, was share and make as many calls as we could to get as many people as possible the help they needed.

I never once thought that I would break down in tears over something like this, over people I had never even met. It's a feeling I wouldn't wish on my worst enemy. We wanted to help, but all we could do was share posts about missing people and direct rescue teams to their last known locations. That feeling of hopelessness and uselessness ate away at me constantly.

I will never be able to forget the faces of those people who were stuck holding on for their lives in their flooded homes as the water continued to rise up to their rooftops. I will never forget the cries of people literally begging for help for their children, their parents, and their friends. I won't forget that the first one to die was a child under the age of ten or that a young college student studying abroad had to learn that his entire family was gone. You see even those of us who were not there were able to feel the agony of our people. The agony that they are still experiencing as they search for missing family. This pain is felt even more so due to the floodgate of negative, insensitive and misinformed commentary from the masses watching us suffer.

"Why didn't they evacuate?"
"The shacks they live in couldn't have held up against a hurricane."
"They deserve it for deporting.."

Even worse, there were people literally rejoicing that Dorian was stationary over The Bahamas, because it meant that it would not affect them and the countless jokes being made by influencers while our people fought for their lives. The level of cruelty was unimaginable to us.

The fact is that they did evacuate, but there were areas that were not required to do so that were also majorly impacted by the storm. Even our evacuation shelters collapsed at some point. Our homes are not shacks, despite how they look, The Bahamas has better building codes that most areas including the US and as such are built for hurricane impact. However, who could have predicted this?  Dorian became the worst storm in "modern history". A category 5 with winds up to 185mph. So, to witness people judging our people, and our home was not only painful, but eye opening.

Still with the bad comes the good. Many people kept us in their prayers and were supportive to the end. A lot of people followed up with Bahamian friends and coworkers to make sure we were alright. We as Bahamians will always be grateful for that. Now that the storm is over we are rushing to get supplies and aid to our families, to help out in rescue efforts and to rebuild our Bahama land.

Hurricane Dorian taught me a lot. My fellow Bahamians will always come together in a crisis and now we know who our true friends are. I know for sure that I will never be able to forget Hurricane Dorian.

If you are looking for ways to help in the relief efforts here are some locations that are accepting donations to send off to The Bahamas.



8 comments

blessedstressedcaffeinatedmomma said...

Very informational. I shared it. More people needs to know what happened to the Bahamas.

Viano Dee said...

So sorry about this. It is sad to know how people can be cruel to make fun of others in distress. I hope they get all the help they need.

Mira said...

OMG! this is different from what we see or hear on TV and social media! no one can truly understand the hurt except the people that actually live there! our prayers are with you !

Ellen said...

Wow. I am continually shocked at the insensitivity that people express on social media! I can assure you I am praying for those affected by Dorian, not only in the Bahamas, but all over the world!

Angela Giles said...

oh wow! That I didn't see in the news. Praying for all of you who are affected by Dorian!

Unknown said...

I have been to the Bahamas many times. I am saddened by Hurricane Dorian and the devastation it has amassed. I have shared this on social media. Thanks for bringing this all together!

Jen @ Jenron Designs said...

The devastation is truly horrific, I have friends that have family in Abaco we are praying hard for them right now, still no word. I can not even imagine what it must have been like to have a storm that just never passes. I know that a lot of the islanders are used to the hurricanes and ready for the fall out, but this one was truly traumatic. I am so sorry for all those that were effected.

Unknown said...

I am really saddened by this. More people need to read this to raise awareness. Thanks for all the information. I'll make sure to share this