#BahamaStrong

Tom Hudson / WLRN Public Media

Great Abaco Island remains beautiful but scarred. It is scarred from the seemingly endless hours of winds and water from Hurricane Dorian in September. Its economy is quiet — quieted by the worst storm spawned from warm Atlantic waters ever to hit the Bahamas. And its residents are few. Thousands forced off the island because they have no homes any longer. 

 

Healing from a hurricane, especially one as strong and devastating as Dorian, will be measured in years. 

 

Just over a month after Hurricane Dorian slammed into the northern Bahamas, parts of the island nation are still in ruins, thousands of people remain displaced and rebuilding has only just begun.

"We are moving as quickly as we can to get up and running," says Michael Jones. "But when that will be is anyone's guess."

About 4,000 Bahamians have evacuated to the U.S. since Hurricane Dorian struck the islands earlier this month, U.S. Customs and Border Protection says. Many of them landed in Florida, less than 100 miles away.

Despite the closeness, getting here isn't easy for many Bahamians. And those who are here face an uncertain future.

Former classmates and colleagues are remembering one of the many victims of Hurricane Dorian in the Bahamas. Philip "P.J." Thomas was a captain and harbor pilot who along with his three children died when the storm roared through Grand Bahama island on Sept. 1.

While the official death toll in the Bahamas from Dorian stands at 50, officials say some 2,500 are missing.

Tim Maddock / Courtesy

A group of South Florida fishermen set sail on their boat on the first Friday after Hurricane Dorian made a direct hit on the Abaco Islands and Grand Bahama as a Category 5 storm.

"As soon as the smoke cleared we were out of here," said Tim Maddock, one of the fishermen.

The slow-moving hurricane made landfall more than a week ago and it was the most powerful storm on record to strike the Bahamas. The storm left many with nothing.

Jacqueline Charles / Miami Herald

Updated at 5:10 p.m. ET

The Bahamas' government is sharing a wish list of materials to help the country provide food and shelter for residents who are still reeling from Hurricane Dorian. Officials say they need lots of help and supplies — but they also want targeted donations.

"Officials here for instance don't want to be inundated with cans of green beans when what they really need is telephone poles," NPR's Jason Beaubien reports from the capital city, Nassau.

They're facing a relief and reconstruction job that's likely to go on for years.

Madeline Fox / WLRN

Palm Beach County has found temporary homes for the last of the Bahamians who arrived at the Port of Palm Beach on Saturday.

Most of the 1,100 residents of the Bahamas who landed in Riviera Beach on Saturday morning went to stay with friends or family — some in South Florida, others a longer drive or plane ride away. 

Joe Cavaretta / South Florida Sun Sentinel

President Donald Trump dismissed bipartisan calls from Florida lawmakers to ease entry requirements for people fleeing Hurricane Dorian’s devastation in the Bahamas, saying “totally proper documentation" is needed to ensure “very bad people” don’t exploit the disaster.

AL DIAZ / MIAMI HERALD

As the humanitarian crisis deepens in the Bahamas, the head of neighboring Florida, Gov. Ron DeSantis, is taking a hands-off approach, telling reporters Monday that it is not the state’s responsibility to assist in the recovery efforts.

“This is a relationship with a foreign country. The federal government is doing it,’’ DeSantis said after an appearance at Florida State University. He said that after an aerial tour of the Bahamas on Friday, he concluded that the U.S. Coast Guard is “doing a great job.”

Daniel Rivero / WLRN

FREEPORT, GRAND BAHAMA - After days of living on a devastated island with no electricity or running water, thousands gathered at Freeport Harbour in Grand Bahama this weekend trying to get tickets to the first passenger boat leaving from Freeport to the Port of Palm Beach since Hurricane Dorian struck.

Conditions are growing increasingly dire in the Bahamas almost a week after Hurricane Dorian made landfall in the Caribbean nation.

Food, water and other supplies are rapidly running out, and residents are waiting desperately to evacuate the devastated Abaco Islands and Grand Bahama. Officials announced late Friday that the death toll had risen to 43, with 35 dead in Abaco and eight in Grand Bahama.

President Trump has promised to help the Bahamas recover from Hurricane Dorian, the devastating storm that has decimated parts of the island nation.

The United States is not only concerned about the Bahamian people, but also the national security implications if China steps in to help fill the country's vast needs, according to current and former U.S. officials.

Parts of the Bahamas are only about 50 miles off the coast of Florida, raising concerns about the potential for such a powerful economic and political adversary to gain a greater foothold in such proximity.

AP / AP PHOTO

Hurricane Dorian, the strongest recorded hurricane to ever hit the Bahamas, has left tens of thousands of people on the islands of Grand Bahama and Abaco without food, roofs, transportation and communication. But many of the other islands in the archipelago were spared and remain welcome to tourists.

Joy Jibrilu, the director General of the Bahamas Ministry of Tourism & Aviation, says people can help with Dorian relief efforts by continuing to vacation in those parts of the Bahamas.

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