Two Months After Hurricane Dorian on Abaco Island Bahamas
Updated: Nov 6, 2019
It is difficult to summarize in words the destruction and terror Dorian left in its wake. I remember waiting out Hurricane Harvey in Houston with my Brother's family wondering if we would be okay, but Dorian was different. The families and individuals who survived Dorian on Abaco Island, Bahamas fought for their lives during the storm, and afterwards, were left stranded on a desolate island. Many families losing absolutely everything.
Our Eco Blue Projects team had the opportunity to visit Abaco Island two months after Hurricane Dorian. Our nonprofit was asked by the Ministry of Public Works and Environment to assess the damage in specific sites and develop a proposal to assist in the cleanup effort.
Though two months have passed after the Hurricane, local residents and officials expect the rebuild to take at least two years. During our trip, we found that there was a major lack of labor. As we drove through the empty towns on the island, a building inspector said that the recovery has been so slow because everyone was evacuated after the Hurricane, and unlike previous hurricanes, have not returned, because they have nothing left.
While we were walking through other areas, we took the opportunity to interview local residents who survived the storm.
One family we interviewed was the Cornish family. A Husband, Wife, and two-year old son. Dante Cornish, the husband, agreed to tell us his story, which we have included below.
Before the interview, his wife shared that during the storm, they tried escaping their house as it was being blown apart. They ran to the doors, but were trapped from the inside due to the 200+ mph winds pushing against them. They tried the windows, but she explained that the windows were boarded up from the outside, and no matter how hard they pushed, they could not break apart the sheeting that covered the windows. As their roof blew off, and the house was being blown apart, they were saved by what she explained as an angle who pulled the sheeting away from a window so they could escape the home.
What stood out to use while we listened to his story, along with the story from his Wife, was that miracles and kindness surround each experience. The Cornish family was evacuated to Nassau after the Hurricane, and are unsure when they will return to their home island of Abaco.
Each person we met with had a similar story of survival. What is even more incredible is that each person is positive and has a good attitude. It was truly inspiring to meet with the people.
We are grateful for the chance our nonprofit has to work with these incredible people. We have partnered with the Reef Life Foundation to provide an innovative solution to cleaning the debris left from the Hurricane and reusing it in artificial coral reefs. Debris removal and management is Abaco Island's major issue. The debris must be removed before the process of rebuilding can begin. The Reef Life Foundations has formulated a plan with Eco Blue Projects that will use IntelliReef technology to reuse the debris for artificial coral reefs.
The reuse of debris in this sustainable method will benefit the island through job creation, new tourist attractions, increased oceanic life for food resources, and shoreline protection.