A filmmaker who captured the devastation of northern Bahamas after Hurricane Dorian has urged Barbadians to take disaster warnings seriously.
Damien Pinder, who was embedded in a Caribbean Disaster Emergency Management Agency (CDEMA) team, said the vast destruction on the Abaco and Grand Bahama islands, suggested Barbadians take disaster warnings seriously as it could be a matter of life and death.
He said: “If the experiences we have been having over the past couple years with the frequency of super hurricanes is not an indication that global warming and climate change is real and it affects us more than it does the bigger countries I do not know what will.
“We need to take the warnings seriously.
“If you look at a lot of the videos you will see circulating and as we were flying over, a lot of them had shutters on them it was not that they were lazy; it was not like people were not prepared.
“There is literally no way to prepare for a hurricane like that on [islands] like the Bahamas.
“Shutters became an issue because as the water-filled up then people became trapped in their homes for the most part as you have shutters on all of your windows stuff so you can only get out through the doors if you were able to get to the doors.
“So, I want Barbadians to know that yes we are lucky that we are the furthest east so as the systems form we do not get them as heavy as the other islands do but these things are very unpredictable as you do not know what would happen.”
The co-founder of Nu-Visual Media said he was on a helicopter that was responsible for assessing the damage on coastal areas as well as the power plant in Freeport, the archipelago’s second-largest city, which is on Grand Bahama.
He told Barbados TODAY: “I had to capture high-resolution photos and video so that could be sent back to the guy from [Jamaica’s state oil refinery] Petrojam… so he would be able to assess the damage without having to go in there which would have been very dangerous because there was a lot of oil in the area so, there could be a fire or an explosion. The situation there is as bad as you would imagine.”
Pinder told Barbados TODAY he conducted some interviews with survivors, including a family of 20 who sought refuge on their roof from Dorian’s storm surges.
“I want to stress the fact that this is not second-hand I am getting; they experienced this firsthand.
“One of the girls I interviewed [said] there were 20 family members that had to go into the roof because the water was getting so high and then the roof blew off and then they had to get off the roof.
“Her grandfather was being washed away and he was yelling he was going to die.
“Luckily for her… they were all safe.
“There are a lot of people who don’t have these stories to say. The unfortunate thing is that there were children who did not have a choice.”
Pinder commended the efforts of CDEMA and other regional agencies who lent their support in the relief efforts but said Bahamians desperately need as much help as they could get during their recovery.
He said: “The situation is really bad there and the people in the [northern] Bahamas they do need as much help as they can get food, finances as this is still just the recovery period.
“And then there is the period of getting back to normalcy and getting the economy back up and running again because that is very important.”
Pinder was joined on the tour by Prime Minister Mia Mottley, CARICOM Chairman Allen Chastanet, the St Lucian prime minister, CARICOM Secretary-General Irwin LaRocque and top officials from CDEMA, the Caribbean Development Bank and the Regional Security System.