The destruction caused by Hurricane Dorian is seen from the air, in Marsh Harbour, Abaco in September, 2019.
(AP Photo/Gonzalo Gaudenzi)
By LEANDRA ROLLE
ACROSS the country, many Bahamians are answering the call to provide aid to the thousands of individuals who were adversely impacted by Hurricane Dorian.
One of them is Dr John Hull. Days after Hurricane Dorian ravaged Abaco and its surrounding cays, Dr Hull, an Abaco resident and medical doctor, teamed up with several second homeowners to provide medical relief and other aid to those wounded in the storm.
“We were told initially from doctors in the States who were seeing people that it was a lot of cuts and bruises and infections, so we took a lot of wound care and what we found out also when we got there was that pressure medications were a big need. We tried to help people out. People had wounds, infections and itching from poor hygiene for like three, four or five days and rashes and things like that,” he said.
Although Dr Hull was in Canada when the storm hit, he said he kept in constant contact with Hope Town Fire and Rescue, a volunteer fire department in Abaco, which he believed to have the best communication at the time.
“Insulin at the time was a really big (need) so we did our best to get that and there was also a flight the next day that came in from the States with medical supplies that we were involved in and so we sent that to Treasure Cay and had people pick that up and take it over to the medical clinic there,” he said.
Dr Hull noted that one of the things they didn’t have, which is now going to be a big need in Abaco, is masks.
“The dead bodies themselves, the animals, the rats are those things that come afterward that really pose as a health hazard. Obviously, the first focus was getting people out who are alive. You take care of the living. Now the big focus is taking care of the (dead) bodies and finding them,” he said.
Dr Hull said his biggest concern right now is that the people of Abaco will be forgotten.
“Most Bahamians live pay cheque to pay cheque and now it’s gone. I don’t think people can really begin to understand how you can lose an entire town. We lost Marsh Harbour, the central hub. We lost Treasure Cay. It’s gone,” he said.
Firstina Rolle-Swain, 75, of Murphy Town, Abaco expressed similar sentiments. In explaining what life was like before Hurricane Dorian, Mrs Swain told The Tribune that life was wonderful for her, adding that she had her own house and everything she could possibly need.
“I had my own field before everything got destroyed. I had potatoes, beans and peas,” she said.
However, after Hurricane Dorian made landfall in Abaco on September 1, Mrs Swain told The Tribune she could not put into words what she had seen and experienced and could only later describe it as just “devastating.”
When asked whether he plans to return to his home and practice in Abaco, Dr Hull said he will but this time with a more organised plan.
“Now, we need to start targeting supplies. We need to understand who is there and what their needs are and how we can help them to rebuild those areas,” he said. “We need to get a full understanding of what we need to do for people. We just can’t be throwing back supplies into Abaco because most people are gone.”