I don’t think there was any possible way to prepare for Dorian adequately.
As the eye came, in a space of about 30 seconds everything just went to hell. We had a hurricane shutter rip off one of our windows. Within 10 seconds of that we had a large piece of lumber come flying through like a missile through that window. Missed me by 4 inches and I was covered in shattered glass. Bleeding everywhere
The wind that was blowing was extremely loud, and it was not even blowing water, it was blowing vapour. There was zero visibility but it was like a mist just whipping past the window.
There really wasn’t any choice or any thought of evacuating—at least for me. And there really wasn’t any call for evacuation. There’s too many people here. It would have been impossible to evacuate this population in the amount of time there was.
We had no phones. No interpret. No power. No food. And there’s only so much you can depend on the government to do for you. It was just something that was so…so biblical. I don’t think any government could prepare for what we went through.
Walking through Abaco afterwards was like walking through the set of The Walking Dead—like walking through a movie set. Familiar landmarks aren’t there anymore. You don’t know what road you’re walking on. It was very surreal.
Immediate concern: security. Our biggest concern was securing where we were to make sure it was safe, preventing any looters, and the lawlessness that was beginning to happen—and it was happening quickly, and then going to find out the status of the rest of the island.
I know some people we were with were really struggling—and continue to struggle with what they saw and what they went through, you know, PTSD. I think there’s still—you can see people are on edge when it rains. People get a little freaked out still.
NEMA was basically missing-in-action. We didn’t see them here. The Defence Force was here but there were a lot of security issues around that. Right after the storm the first people on the ground in terms of aid were USAID, GER3, Samaritan’s Purse, RUBICON. In terms of anyone from government it took a couple weeks before government made their presence known.
We need to look seriously at some of the newest building technologies that can help us design and build structures that will withstand or be more resilient tot those kinds of events. But we don’t seem to be doing that, we seem to be doing the same insecure, insufficient things.