Devastating images of the aftermath of Hurricane Dorian show what appears to be an apocalypse that has hit the Bahamas.
Hurricane Dorian struck the Abaco Islands in the Caribbean nation as a Category 5 hurricane on Sept. 1 carrying winds of up to 185 mph. The storm caused a total of $7 billion in damage on the island leaving 70,000 people homeless and 13,000 homes destroyed.
As of Wednesday, the death toll from the storm was 50; however, officials say that number is expected to rise as the cleanup continues and bodies are uncovered. Officials also say some of those missing could have been swept out to sea.
Bahamas’ National Emergency Management Agency said this week that more than 2,000 evacuees are staying in shelters in New Providence.
“We will go to see some of the places so that I can get a full appreciation for the devastation that has happened to this island,” said Governor General of The Bahamas the Hon. Cornelius A. Smith. “Lives have been shattered and I recognize that it will take a couple of years to rebuild. It will not happen overnight. We have to do a rebuilding. We have to rebuild our lives, our communities and our homes. That is not an overnight event.”
Locally, efforts continue to help those devastated on the island. The Bahamas Consul General New York has several locations in the city that are taking donations, including Bahamas House and the Adam Clayton Powell State Office Building in Manhattan, New Covenant Dominion Church in The Bronx and United Methodist Church in Queens.
“We are sorting, packing and preparing for shipping,” officials from Bahamas House said in a statement. “We are seeking volunteers who are able to assist with the loading of the trailers when the arrive to Bahamas House.”
The U.S. Coast Guard has been assisting the rescue effort on the island. Evacuees have been coming to the United States to Florida by ferry. Some cruise ships took evacuees to different parts of the Bahamas. Queens resident Sean Danials was vacationing in the Bahamas on a Royal Caribbean cruise when his ship took 300 evacuees from Freeport to Nassau.
“Once they picked them up and we saw them boarding and we had no contact with them,” he said. “All the employees volunteered their time and everyone pitched in from the company. They didn’t go into detail about what was going on but we got an email saying they were stopping in Freeport and that our day was being cut short.”
Thousands of evacuees were sent to Florida. Officials from the Red Cross reportedly said that they have received offers to house evacuees. However, politics is coming into play. There is resistance from politicians over immigrants coming into the country after a natural disaster.
“We have to be very careful. Everybody needs totally proper documentation, because, look, the Bahamas had some tremendous problems with people going to the Bahamas that weren’t supposed to be there,” Trump said. “I don’t want to allow people that weren’t supposed to be in the Bahamas to go to the United States, including some very bad people and some very bad gang members and some very, very bad drug dealers. So we are going to be very very strong on that.”
Evacuees were on a ferry headed to Fort Lauderdale when an announcement was made to deny entry into the country to evacuees who did not have U.S visas. The ferry boat operator has since apologized for the mishap that forced dozens of evacuees off the boat.
Meanwhile, celebrities are stepping up to help with relief efforts. NBA legend and billionaire Michael Jordan is reportedly donating $1 million to help out. He will choose which non-profits will receive the donation.
“I am devastated to see the destruction that Hurricane Dorian has brought to the Bahamas, where I own property and visit frequently,” Jordan said in a statement. “My heart goes out to everyone who is suffering and those who have lost loved ones.”
Barbadian-born R&B star Rihanna is donating funds through her Clara Lionel Foundation. Two emergency response grants have been deployed to the World Central Kitchen for meals and Direct Relief for the delivery of emergency health kits.
Entertainment mogul Tyler Perry sent items to the Abaco Islands via his private plane. Perry owns an island in the Bahamas. Perry has made two trips so far and has flown seven people from the island who needed medical attention.
“To all the incredible people of the Bahamas who have welcomed me and called me an adoptive son, I want you to know that I am watching closely, and as soon as I can, I will be there to do whatever I can to help you rebuild stronger and better,” Perry said. “You’re not only in my heart and my prayers, you’re in my blood. God bless you. Stay Bahamas strong. The sun will shine again.”