A flight over Abaco Tuesday witnessed this scene of devastation.
By RIEL MAJOR
Tribune Staff Reporter
RESCUE and aid groups that flew over Abaco yesterday described the island as being in complete ruin.
“It’s total devastation,” HeadKnowles founder Lia-Head Rigby told the Associated Press yesterday. “It’s decimated. Apocalyptic. It looks like a bomb went off. It’s not rebuilding something that was there; we have to start again.”
Speaking to reporters about the state of the island, Ms Head-Rigby said the situation on Abaco is dire.
She said: “We have been in communication with people from Marsh Harbour, Sandy Point, nothing from Treasure (Cay), nothing from Hope Town, nothing from Green Turtle Cay and we got to see all of them. We got to see Green Turtle Cay too it’s…you know people like to say the word devastating - that’s not the word - this is decimated, this is just gone, this is catastrophic.
“We just want to make sure…when we put out the call to help please help. No one is going to be able to stay there and fix up. They’re going to have to move home here to Nassau or to somewhere else and rebuild so this is beyond HeadKnowles, this beyond us. We can come and aid like we are doing but they’re going to have to rebuild. The insurance companies will have to jump in this, you already know it was coming get the cheques ready for the Bahamians please and we are here to help.”
HeadKnowles has 30 planes ready to drop off aid and rescue volunteers as soon as they can land on the island.
“We have a lot of…I got 30 planes just sitting in St Pete ready. We have all the medics ready and the doctors are flying in on the caravans today. They’re coming here then they’ll be coming. It’s a huge operation already we have, and we just needed to get here.”
Red Cross spokesman Matthew Cochrane told the AP more than 13,000 houses, or about 45 percent of the homes in Grand Bahama and Abaco were believed to have been severely damaged or destroyed. UN officials said more than 60,000 people on the hard-hit islands will need food, and the Red Cross said some 62,000 people will need clean drinking water.
“What we are hearing lends credence to the fact that this has been a catastrophic storm and a catastrophic impact,” he said.
Lawson Bates, a staffer for Arkansas-based MedicCorps, flew over Abaco and told AP: “It looks completely flattened. There’s boats way inland that are flipped over. It’s total devastation.”
A hurricane chaser caught up in the storm in Abaco last night tweeted out his experiences of the hurricane.
Josh Morgerman, a Californian with a TV series, Hurricane Man, on the Science Channel, sent out a tweet saying: “Yep, I’m alive. Made it to Nassau. #Hurricane #DORIAN: By far the most intense cyclone I’ve witnessed in 28 years of chasing. Thought I was playing it safe by riding it out in a solid-concrete school on a hill in Marsh Harbour. Thought wrong.”
He added: “Winds pounded the building with the force of a thousand sledgehammers. Crept out during eye to find school mostly destroyed, cars in parking lot thrown around and mutilated. Barometre said 913.4 mb.
“Frantically piled into few functioning cars (one of them mine) and relocated to government complex before backside struck. Building filled with terrorised refugees, many who had swam to safety or abandoned collapsed houses. The calm eye saved lives—gave victims chance to relocate.
“Whole neighbourhoods were swept by mighty surge higher than anything in memory. Areas above water had catastrophic wind damage. Many deaths reported from drowning, flying debris, and collapsing houses. Medical clinic overwhelmed. An absolute catastrophe. SEND HELP TO ABACO ISLANDS.”
On Monday, Prime Minister Hubert Minnis confirmed five deaths on Abaco. Yesterday, Minister of National Security Marvin Dames said he expects that number to climb as rescue and recovery efforts continue.