Memories of Dorian haunt those who lived to tell the tale

MARSH HARBOUR, Abaco – Gavin Knowles, 29, a marina manager, was in tears as he described the lingering effects Hurricane Dorian – a deadly Category 5 storm – has had on him in its aftermath.

“I thought I would die,” Knowles said.

“It actually didn’t set in until — I’m sorry my voice is cracking — it didn’t set in until two days ago. All I see [are] bodies. All I see is destruction whenever I try and sleep and like that’s one thing people don’t understand.

“They think they hear about the death but they don’t understand how many bodies have been washed out to sea. You don’t understand how many bodies have been disposed of to get out of the way; like people really, really, really don’t understand what’s going on. We were lucky. We were able to get in a very decent break in the storm.

“We were able to – with permission from certain business owners – we were allowed to go into their establishment and get whatever supplies we were…able to save [and] distribute them to people in our neighborhood.

“Our neighborhood, where we stayed, was super fortunate. We were able to stock up all the major households that were housing everybody. They’re good for the foreseeable future.”

Knowles reiterated that his family got “lucky” because they were able to find food, medicine, blankets, etc. in the days after the storm.

He said residents outside of Abaco and Grand Bahama “generally have no understanding” of the terror that the storm victims experienced during and after Dorian.

“There were people walking around with AK-47s,” Knowles said with a blank face.

“These are things I have seen with my own eyes.”

Adults are not the only victims being haunted by the horror of Dorian.

Melissa Pinder, a Grand Bahama native, lived in Abaco for nearly 15 years before Dorian.

“Right now, my daughter (who is four-years-old), she is still traumatized because if it rains, she thinks the roof is about to come off or she thinks we’re going to be blown away,” Pinder said.

“We had to come out our house [during] the storm. She’s a little bit traumatized. I’ve been waking up dreaming that I’m drowning. We’re still trying to get over it.

“If it’s raining, she’ll say, ‘Mummy, is the roof going to blow off?’

“She says, ‘Mummy, do we need to leave the house? We need to leave. We need to go.’”

Minister of Health Dr. Duane Sands said the government is offering counseling to storm victims.

He said counseling has been offered at Odyssey Airport, where many evacuees have arrived to New Providence, and at the various shelters for victims.

Sands also said mental health specialists have already been deployed to Abaco and Grand Bahama.

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Jasper Ward

Jasper Ward started at The Nassau Guardian in September 2018. Ward covers a wide range of national and social issues. Education: Goldsmiths, University of London, MA in Race, Media and Social Justice

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