Carrie, LWR’s Director for Humanitarian Assistance, is managing our response to the devastation caused by Hurricane Dorian in the Bahamas and is working to ensure your generosity reaches the families who need it most.
Even though debris from Hurricane Dorian still litters the streets of his neighborhood in Pine Bay, Grand Bahama, Renaldi Forbes apologizes for the state of his home when we enter.
Forbes worked hard and saved money for months to remodel the kitchen of what he calls his “dream home” last year. Less than a month after the paint dried, the storm surge from Hurricane Dorian swept through the house, filling it with 8 feet of water. His new kitchen, along with everything else on the first floor, was lost.
“When you work so hard, to see your possessions floating away is difficult,” Forbes recalls, his voice echoing in the empty rooms. He says he even tried to jump in the water to salvage anything he could grab, but he was nearly swept away. In the end, he decided his life was more valuable than his belongings, so he clung to safety as he watched them float into the darkness.
But Forbes says he one of the lucky ones.
“It’s sad to look around and think about what’s been lost,” Forbes says, “but we have our lives, which is more than some.”
Rebuilding after Hurricane Dorian
I met Forbes and several of his neighbors during a follow-up visit to some of the neighborhoods that were hit hardest by Hurricane Dorian in September 2019. In partnership with Our Savior Lutheran Church in Freeport, Grand Bahama, Lutheran World Relief is identifying and focusing aid to families who lost everything in the storm.
“I just consider myself lucky to be alive,” says Mark Crawther, whose Hawksbill home was entirely submerged above the roofline when the storm surge swept through.
Without your generosity, many of these families could not even begin to think about rebuilding. Most have only managed to gut the damage and remove the muck left behind when the waters receded. Now they’re living in the empty shells until, board by board, they can save enough money for materials to rebuild.
Many don’t know when that might be possible.
In this part of the Bahamas, navigating the path to recovery can be complicated. Some of the damaged homes were insured, while others were not. Insurance companies are so overwhelmed with claims that nobody is sure when, or if, payments will be made.
Five months later, entire towns still have received no news about when their electricity might be restored.
Despite their losses and unknowns, everyone Lutheran World Relief has met during our response has been warm, welcoming and thankful to God for sparing their lives —and to LWR for walking with them through recovery and rebuilding.