0

Two Years On And Residents Still Picking Up The Pieces

MRS Wilmore’s property before and after Hurricane Dorian.

MRS Wilmore’s property before and after Hurricane Dorian.

By LEANDRA ROLLE

Tribune Staff Reporter

lrolle@tribunemedia.net

TWO years after losing their homes and belongings to Hurricane Dorian, rubble, debris and a flattened foundation are still all that remains for some Abaco residents.

Abaco resident, Mrs Wilmore said daily life on the island is still a struggle two years later.

The 60-year-old, who only wanted to be referred to by her last name, said a lack of funds has made it difficult to rebuild her home after it was decimated by Dorian in 2019.

“This is two years to the date that I lost my home,” she said in an emotional interview yesterday. “I lost a rental that I used to rent to the government, but I had to leave because my house was (swept away) and I was only left with the foundation and the clothes on my back, okay.”

She spoke to The Tribune as the island marked its second anniversary since Hurricane Dorian. Recalling her memories on the day of the storm, the mother-of-two said she remembered her and family having to vacate their Dundas Town home, which was located on the water side, in order to find shelter.

“About this same time, two years ago I was in the water swimming with my 26-year-old daughter and she was six months pregnant and she had a seven-year-old son with her and we were trapped in that water for nine hours,” she said.

“You’re talking water about 26 feet high and everywhere we went for refuge collapsed when we got there okay. We almost lost our lives not once, but three times in one day and here it is two years later, I have yet to get any help.”

For the past two years, the Abaconion said she has been appealing for assistance from both government and non-governmental agencies, but to no avail.

“I went to every NGO you can think about and that was like my sixth time back to them to see if there was any assistance. Nobody has given me one piece of thing,” she said. “They said the Small Home Repair programme was not for people who had lost their house completely. It was for people with roof damage. You had to have partial structure. It wasn’t for me.

“And then they were giving a $10,000 grant for people like myself, but they said I didn’t qualify because I have lost my land papers so I was not qualified, but I don’t know what that means because I know countless people who lost their land papers just like me and got assistance, but I got nothing.

“I have a neighbour who had some left over two-by-six (wood) and he gave me about twenty pieces of lumber and that’s what I have.”

With no proper home to go to and little financial support, Ms Wilmore said life has been hard for her.

“June of this year made a year since we were living in the dome that we got from the (DRA) and we just got running water to the dome on Friday. No water, no light, nothing and the dome is giving me respiratory problems because mould was in it,” she said.

“But to tell you the truth, I’m only surviving because of God’s grace because before Dorian, social services used to give me a card where I could get food, but they cancelled it. I wouldn’t say I was rich, but I could’ve made it.”

The Abaco resident said it brings tears to her eyes when thinking about how drastically her life has changed in the span of two years.

“Like this morning, I got up and I’m going to be honest with you I felt like I was having COVID,” she said reflecting on Dorian’s second year anniversary.

“I didn’t have no energy. I was hot and I was cold and the doctor told me ‘you just depressed Mrs Wilmore and it’s to be expected’ but I wasn’t even hungry. I just sit right out my foundation looking out to sea because I live on the water side and I just went on the neigbour’s porch and looked out to sea, thinking and that’s it.”

Despite the challenges, she still thanks God for sparing her and her family and allowing them to see another day.

Dorian hit Abaco on September 1, 2019 as a Category Five storm. The storm’s official death toll is 74.

In May, then Coroner Jeanine Weech-Gomez declared 22 people dead whose family members had reported them as missing after the storm. However, many more are still believed to be missing.

Comments

stillwaters 3 months ago

One minute she's saying she got no help at all and the next minute she says she lives in one of the domes. That's help ma'am....a roof over your head.

1

Sign in to comment