“The Destruction is Worse than I Imagined”

A guest post by Bahamas volunteer Kathy Clark, who is volunteering with United Aid Foundation and Team M/V Adventure

Bradley and I were recruited to join our good friends Brad and Lorraine Carolton at Green Turtle Cay (GTC) in the Abacos to assist with hurricane recovery efforts. Brad and Lorraine are boating friends who own a Nordhavn 55. Shortly after Dorian struck the Abacos, they connected with United Aid Foundation, loaded their boat up with generators, freezers, and tons of food and headed to GTC, a small island in the Abacos where the major recovery efforts are not yet focused. Brad and Lorraine had already set up a fully functioning kitchen and trained local people to operate it. They serve two meals a day to over 200 people per meal. There is still no running water or electricity on the island, so even for people whose houses are habitable, it is difficult to prepare meals and/or wash dishes.

 

Bradley and I flew to Ft. Lauderdale on Saturday, October 5 and stayed with a good friend until we could get a flight to GTC. We were delayed a couple days waiting for good weather but flew out Wed morning on a small Cherokee piloted by Rod. That gave us plenty of time to shop for things Brad needed, including groceries, tools, and various supplies. We were so successful that we ended up over our 900 pound weight limit (including human weight) and had to leave a small generator behind for another day.

Below is a report from Bradley:

The destruction is worse than I imagined.  I would say over 50% of the people here lost everything, including their homes.  More than a third of the homes  still standing were so flooded that everything has to be removed including furniture, insulation, wiring etc.  About 15 to 20% of the homes had only minor wind damage and no flooding.   There were solid cement block homes completely leveled. There is no electricity on the island and Adventure is making 50% of the water for the island with their water-makers operating almost constantly and sending water to a large tank at the marina where it can then be distributed. The only power is from generators and gas is $5 a gallon.

Kathy and Lorraine are working on increasing organization, inventory control, logistics, and expanding “Adventure Cafe” menu.   Brad and I are running around fixing things, gathering supplies for projects and just helping people.  Friday, John Alex, the founder of United Aid Foundation came in with volunteers Abigail Hayo and Ryan Beasley. The five of us put up 11 ten-person tents for the Haitian community on Treasure Cay. Over 60 of them spent 2 days trapped in a school bus, as their houses got blown down and their cars flooded.  The bus was on the highest point of land for miles.

Everyone is very nice and for the most part helpful.  The people are very resilient and are beginning the rebuilding process. There is absolutely no risk or fear for our safety, quite the opposite.  Many of the locals are welcoming, industrious, and friendly.

We are working, lifting moving things Ten+ hours a day.   Good thing I showed up in shape.  It is both physically and mentally exhausting.

 

United Aid Foundation thanks Kathy and Bradley for all of their  efforts in the Bahamas, and for helping to spread awareness of the conditions there.

 

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