Mon | Nov 18, 2019

Clean-up resumes as Humberto swirls away

Published:Monday | September 16, 2019 | 12:16 AM
Jeffrey Roberts, 49, eats while searching, last Saturday, through the rubble of his relatives’ home that was destroyed by Hurricane Dorian in Pelican Point, Grand Bahama, Bahamas. The death toll from the hurricane stands at 50 and the number of missing at an alarming 1,300 people, although officials caution the list is preliminary and many people could just be unable to connect with loved ones.
Jeffrey Roberts, 49, eats while searching, last Saturday, through the rubble of his relatives’ home that was destroyed by Hurricane Dorian in Pelican Point, Grand Bahama, Bahamas. The death toll from the hurricane stands at 50 and the number of missing at an alarming 1,300 people, although officials caution the list is preliminary and many people could just be unable to connect with loved ones.

MCLEAN’S TOWN, Bahamas (AP):

Jeffrey Roberts lifted a mustard-yellow curtain from the ground to hunt for passports and other documents at the place where his family’s home stood before Hurricane Dorian blasted into Grand Bahama Island.

What was underneath was sodden and unrecognisable. He shuffled across a white tile floor, the only clear sign this had once been a house, and found a pair of rusty old pliers, only to toss them in frustration. They clattered across the tiles, breaking the silence that had enveloped the fishing community of McLean’s Town.

Roberts was one of thousands of people beginning to return to salvage what few scraps they can from the devastation of Dorian, even as the dark storm clouds of Tropical Storm Humberto hovered above to remind them that the storm season has not yet passed.

“We got to take what God gives us,” Roberts said.

In this case, at least, that was a break: Humberto narrowly missed the island on the weekend and was projected to curve north and then northeast, staying well off Florida’s east coast.

The storm briefly shuttered a couple of small airports, sent people in damaged homes to seek shelter, and threatened to interrupt the distribution of sorely needed supplies, including food and water.

As the storm passed, however, Roberts and others were already returning to the task at hand: resuming their clean-up and recovery efforts in communities such as McLean’s Town devastated by Hurricane Dorian two weeks ago.

United Nations Secretary General Antonio Guterres visited the nearby island of Great Abaco on Saturday to support humanitarian efforts, which left thousands in need of food, water and shelter.

“Hurricane Dorian has been classified as Category 5. I think it’s Category Hell,” the secretary general said.

adding he was horrified by the “level of systematic devastation”.

The islands’ official death toll from the hurricane remained at 50 and the number of missing at an alarming 1,300 people, although officials cautioned the list is preliminary and many people could just be unable to connect with loved ones.