On September 1, 2019, lives changed forever for residents and visitors of the Bahamas as a devastating hurricane barely moved across the island chain for more than 2 days.
Hurricane Dorian made three separate landfalls in the Bahamas as a Category 5 storm, with wind gusts peaking at more than 200 miles per hour and catastrophic storm surge engulfing anything in its path.
"The hurricane turned out to be a monster," said Bahamas resident Edward Hoyte. "I thank God I didn’t stay in the house because obviously my house is no more now. It’s completely down to a block."
As the storm finally left the region, videos from across the Abaco and Grand Bahama Islands gave the world a first look at the heartbreaking destruction from the strongest storm to ever hit this region.
"The devastation," Hoyte recalled, "I mean, it was just horrendous over there. As far as you know, the houses being lost, the lives being lost."
In October of 2019, neighborhoods still looked eerily similar to those just after Dorian moved through.
"You look at this rubble, you just see a pile of debris," said Abaco Island resident, Timothy Roberts. "But when you really closely look, you can understand the devastation. This is pieces of people’s lives from all throughout this town."
Organizations from all over the world have been assisting those impacted, however for the people who survived the storm it’s still a daily struggle.
"As far as the devastation there now, I mean, it’s still bad per say, but it isn’t as bad as from when I left it just because the fact that a lot of the foundations that are coming in to Abaco is, they helping, they helping a lot," Hoyte said. "A lot of people have the PTSD of the hurricane. They don’t know how to process what happened. They’re very emotional over there. Very touchy about the whole thing. Even as it rains, or has a little bit of wind blowing, everyone’s just looking up, everyone’s scared."
And while some progress has been made throughout the communities, locals say it’s still a long road to recovery.
"Some of the biggest needs right now; electricity and building supplies before businesses can open," Roberts said. "It’s just difficult to survive in this environment unless you have a number of items."
But while it will still take a substantial amount of time to rebuild homes & neighborhoods, those impacted stay strong together and continue to have hope.
"People are starting to steadily come back to see what they can do to help with the rebuild and recovery," said Roberts.
HOW TO HELP THE BAHAMAS
There are many ways you can assist those in areas recovering from Hurricane Dorian.
Visit this website (click) for different organizations that continue to assist those impacted by the storm.