That is the common emotion among Bahamian students at the University of the West Indies Cave Hill Campus, whilst watching the horror of the devastation of their country by the intense and slow-moving monster hurricane, Dorian.
Four of them spoke with Barbados TODAY amid an uncertain future for many in their homeland.
As the storm stood stationary over the islands of Grand Bahama and Abaco, students revealed that many of their relatives had fallen off the radar and had even been reported missing as Dorian’s furious winds tossed vehicles and shredded roofs while storm surges as high as 23 feet threatened to submerge two-storey structures.
“It really looks like something out of a horror movie. We have all experienced hurricanes before, but not to the extent of something that would sit so long over the islands,” said Faculty of Medical Sciences representative, Abigail Wallace.
“We’ve seen images of sharks and fish swimming on the roadside and outside people’s windows. We’ve seen people with babies outside with no roofs trying to go from one house to the next wading in water. People have reported bodies floating in Abaco without being able to retrieve them during the storm. A lot of people are missing. We got confirmation of an eight-year-old boy who died as a result of the storm and about his sister who is missing. A lot is going on and it’s really heartbreaking to watch, especially not being at home,” admitted Wallace, a native of Grand Bahama, one of two islands, which felt Dorian’s full force.
The second-year medical student revealed many of her friends had lost their homes due to flooding and were forced to flee in the middle of the hurricane.
“I am hoping all of my friends and relatives are okay. I had first made contact with my mom last night and I haven’t heard from her today but I am looking forward to hearing from her soon,” she said.
In an emotional appeal, Wallace urged Barbadians to view the Bahamas as a part of “one Caribbean nation”, acknowledging that although the storm was slowly moving away, it was only the first of many challenges facing the country.
“We have to deal with the aftermath and it’s going to be a challenge with rebuilding and basically getting everything from scratch. We will need everything. Many people, if their roofs aren’t torn off, they would have suffered flooding and water damage and everything would have been destroyed by saltwater. So children would need diapers, clothes, and toiletries. Women would need pads, deodorant, soap, food, water and anything you could think of would be needed, because basically we have nothing,” she said.
Meanwhile, Dionisio Carey, the Guild’s Games Committee Chairperson was thankful that his island, New Providence was not directly impacted. He was however overcome with feelings of helplessness for family and friends experiencing tremendous flooding.
“Back home, it’s only my mother, so the only thing we can do is just pray and hope for the best. It’s worrisome because you’re so far away and you really want to do something, but you just can’t,” he said.
“The flooding isn’t as bad as some other areas, but there are some houses where the first floor is underwater and water is coming up to the second floor. Cars have been flipped over and it’s just destruction everywhere.”
For postgraduate representative, Arianne Richardson of New Providence the ordeal involved news that her brother had gone missing. Thankfully, she found out Tuesday morning that he was all right.
“His house was flooding and he wanted to get out last night before high tide and he did so and was able to contact us when he got to safety this morning at 4:30. I haven’t heard from him since, but then we received word that he was ok. I also received word from our family in Abaco that most of them are okay but we did receive word of the loss of life in Abaco,” she said while expressing gratitude for the outpouring of support received by her fellow Bahamians.
“I just want to take a minute to thank the Cave Hill family and my friends and family in Barbados. People have been reaching out and everybody has been standing in prayer with us so we are definitely grateful for our Cave Hill and our Barbados family.”
Garry Rolle III, also told Barbados TODAY that he simply wished there was more he could to do to assist his friends and family.
“There’s a sense of hopelessness, and although I’m from the island of New Providence, we had a lot of flooding on the island… I have friends and family members that are experiencing flooding and to feel that level of hopelessness is like, you want to be there to do something, but you can’t stop the water. The saltwater is coming in and you can’t do anything about it.” [email protected]