Nightmarish tales emerge during storm

Gertha Joseph, 35, a resident of Marsh Harbour, Abaco, stood at the top of a concrete staircase on Sunday and watched in horror as Hurricane Dorian tore through Abaco.

She held her four-month-old son as she frantically pleaded for help.

“Everyone, please pray for us,” she cried desperately.

“[It’s] me and my baby. Everyone got safe in our apartment building, but we’re stuck right here.”

Around the apartment, a dark, murky storm surge had rolled in.

The scene was as grim as the rest of the island.

Cars were submerged and water was nearly roof-level in the distance.

Roof shingles, loose wood and other pieces of debris moved with the violent rhythm of Dorian, a Category 5 hurricane with sustained winds exceeding 180 miles per hour (mph).

In a plea for her life, Joseph shrieked, “Please, pray for us. Pray for Abaco. I’m begging you.”

Her pain-struck voice cried, “My baby’s only four months old. Please pray for us.

“I’m begging y’all; pray for us.

“My apartment building, as we stayed in, the whole roof came off.

“We are staying right here,” Joseph said, pointing her camera toward the dirty swells beneath her.

“People are trying to make it to the other side where this house is. But some people, the water just took them and those are the only people that [made] it over there.

“Some people didn’t get to make it.

“Lord have mercy, please. My baby is only four months old.”

Joseph said she was terrified and did not know whether she or her son would survive the ordeal.

However, a neighbor assisted them with their journey across the tumultuous waters between the apartment buildings.

“Some guy helped me out,” she told The Nassau Guardian.

“He put [my son in] this plastic thing and he swam across with him because I can’t swim.

“Then, the guy came back to help me across the water.”

She was interrupted by a loud, clamoring noise in the background.

Joseph screamed, “Oh my God. I see the light on the roof.”

She continued, “Oh my God. What we gonna do? Please tell me what we gonna do?”

Less than five seconds later, her phone went dead.

According to the National Hurricane Center (NHC), Dorian made its landfall on Elbow Cay, Abaco, at 12:40 p.m.

It described the 185 mph wind speeds as “a life-threatening situation”.

The storm made its second landfall at 2 p.m.

Shortly after 3:30 p.m., The Nassau Guardian was able to regain contact with Joseph after more than half an hour.

She said she found refuge in the only house standing on her street.

Joseph described the conditions in Marsh Harbour as a nightmare.

“Everyone is in the living room right now and the roof is about to lift,” she said.

“We’re trying to figure out where to go next.”

Joseph said more than 50 people, including young children, were crowded into the small house, praying and hoping for the best.

“I can’t describe nothing right now because of what I’m going through right now,” she said.

Joseph said she doesn’t know where she will go next if the house becomes compromised.

“I’m just going to keep praying,” she said.

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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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