Bahamian U.S. military sergeant: Parts of Abaco look war-torn

A Bahamian member of the U.S. military yesterday likened the destruction left by Hurricane Dorian to scenes from a war-torn country.

Sergeant Omar Butler, who has been a member of the U.S. Air Force for over 15 years, recalled the horror of flying over Abaco and seeing the ruin, the scent of death permeating the air even hundreds of feet above the land.

“If you didn’t know, if you had just seen both places, whether it’s a war zone or whether it’s a hurricane zone, you would think the same thing happened,” he said.

“The destruction is incredibly familiar.”

Butler continued, “So, it’s very similar – the devastation and the destruction; it’s almost identical to what I’ve seen from explosions going off, the aftermath and the debris.”

He added, “The devastation just broke my heart. It’s going to take a long time to rebuild.”

Butler also raised concern over the psychological impact on storm survivors.

“Those that have survived the hurricane, I know they’re going to have a lot of trauma,” he said.

“I spoke to a lady a few days ago. She had come in from Abaco with her kids. She had survived, and she said her daughter basically right now gets traumatized when she hears the rain falling on the window.”

Currently stationed in Germany, Butler was granted leave to return home to assist in whatever way he could in the relief efforts.

“The folks that I work with in Europe, we put together a quick donation drive, and I brought all the supplies with me, and once I got here on the ground, I’ve just been teaming with various agencies, the Red Cross is one that I’m familiar with, and basically just donating the supplies out to the different agencies.”

Butler said his family on Grand Bahama all survived Dorian, but he was saddened for the families of those who weren’t so lucky.

“The loved ones that I have, I’m grateful that they made it, but I also know that there’s a lot of people that lost loved ones, and my condolences go out to them and their families,” he said.

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Rachel Knowles

Rachel joined The Nassau Guardian in January 2019. Rachel covers national issues. Education: University of Virginia in Charlottesville, BA in Foreign Affairs and Spanish

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