Some residents have no regrets about staying on Grand Cay

GRAND CAY, Abaco – Despite being one of the government’s targeted evacuation zones, most of the residents on Grand Cay decided to battle out Hurricane Dorian’s vicious winds and storm surges on the tiny island.

Many expressed no regrets in staying.

“The only place I could’ve gone was Freeport and I think here was safer than Freeport because we are much higher,” said Leslie Edgecombe, a resident of the cay.

Most of the buildings on Grand Cay still stand tall despite the eye of the deadly Category 5 storm that passed directly over them.

Electrical poles and lines do not sprawl across the roads like in Marsh Harbour.

However, there is no electricity on the island.

There is a constant hum of small generators that provide power to homes.

Although the cay was not pummeled like other parts of Abaco, its residents remain scarred by deadly Dorian, which is responsible for 50 deaths so far.

Ulamae Hield, the mother of a special needs son, said she took refuge in “a tourist’s house on the hill”.

“Around four o’clock on Sunday, we was up on the first floor and as the wind blow, the roof start to lift up with the cement,” she told The Nassau Guardian from the porch of her father’s house on Grand Cay.

“It was my uncle and his wife and three other brothers. Then, we jump through the window and we gone down underground on the steps because he had another underground place. The storm wasn’t really on. It wasn’t really hard like that yet.”

From that basement shelter, Hield said she saw “houses flying away”.

When asked if her son was impacted by the storm, she replied, “Where he wears pampers, he was going and using a lot of urine. He just was wetting up [himself]. I had to keep on bathing him and changing his pampers. He wasn’t sleeping because he probably was scared.”

On the other side of the island, Rodrigo Scavella, a construction worker, sat near a dock.

A few people gathered around waiting for the distribution of diapers, water and other essential items.

Two men loaded a golf cart with supplies and drove around the cay distributing ice and non-perishable items to residents.

As he watched their movements, Scavella recalled his terrifying encounter with Dorian.

“A coconut tree hit the roof so the water started to come in,” he said.

“It got on the sheetrock so it started caving in. The next morning we went there it was all on the ground, so imagine if we slept in there.

“It would have probably hit us or landed on us. [My house] got a little damage inside but we got off lucky.”

Despite the close call with Dorian, Scavella said if he had the choice, he would ride out the storm from Grand Cay all over again.

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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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