Residents on Grand Bahama yesterday faced their “worst” nightmares when Hurricane Dorian lashed the island.
Gail Woon, an environmentalist, sought refuge from Dorian at the Seventh Day Adventist Church on Gambier Drive in Freeport the day before the storm made landfall.
However, shortly after 2 p.m., Woon and scores of others at the church faced the unthinkable – a portion of the roof at the shelter flew off.
“I was shocked when the roof fell in,” she told The Nassau Guardian.
She added, “There were more people upstairs and someone had opened the window without permission from the manager. The corner of the building’s roof just popped right off.
“Three quarters of the roof is still there but a quarter of it is gone. We can see the sky.”
Woon said the more than 50 people in the shelter were in a frenzy.
She said she has been notified that her house is badly flooded.
Less than a 10-minute drive away from the hurricane shelter, Elizabeth Burrows, the executive director of the Humane Society of Grand Bahama, attempted to protect the lives of hundreds of animals and a few members of her staff.
She pleaded for assistance as the animal shelter began to flood.
“The shelter is flooding,” she cried.
“I’m trying to call BASRA right now. I am stuck. I don’t know what we can do right now.”
She said the water in the buildings reached more than five feet.
“Six staff are in need of rescuing,” Burrows said.
“They tried to get as many animals out as they could but water came so fast and was too swift. There are over 300 animals, including about 80 boarding animals.
“So, please be sensitive to that. We are devastated.”
Yesterday’s devastation by Dorian became visible to many Grand Bahamians around the rise of dawn.
As the then-Category 5 storm pounded the island, Lisa Pakosh, a Freeport resident, told The Nassau Guardian, “Right now, we are getting lashed with strong winds and heavy rains.”
She added, “Cell services is sporadic, but I have been in contact with friends over the bridge whose home flooded, and they are stuck with their young daughter on their countertops.”
Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance Peter Turnquest, who is the East Grand Bahama MP, said that there was “devastation and loss of homes”.
He observed “devastating storm surges”.
“[It’s] bad, real bad,” Turnquest said.
He added, “It’s not good as many residential areas are completely flooded.”