Hurricane Dorian: Bahamian families search for stability in SWFL after storm

Reporter: Breana Ross Writer: Jack Lowenstein
Credit: WINK News.

Hurricane Dorian wreaked havoc on the northern Bahamas just over two months ago. The storm left massive amounts of water and destruction. Neighbors still haven’t recovered from its effects.

We spoke to people affected by Hurricane Dorian Sunday, who are struggling to move forward here in Southwest Florida.

A hotel room with two twin beds have become home for Marsha Cooper and her family of four. They have a few necessities and a small suitcase, which are the only things that were not destroyed in the storms.

“It’s not like you could salvage anything from the home,” Cooper said. “So you just came with your documents and your change of clothes, and we just came over.”

Cooper and her family left behind their home that was damaged beyond repair and their lives that will never be the same.

“We did what we could to survive during the storm and afterward,” Cooper said. “I’m losing everything.”

The storm is no longer devastating the islands, but Bahamians impacted by the storm continue to struggle to find stability.

We also met with Jenamay Garland shortly after the storm hit the Bahamas, and we followed up with her recently. She originally took her three nieces and nephew from the Bahamas into her home in Lehigh Acres, and now she is caring for four children at home.

“Since I spoke to you last, I had taken in another child that needed to go to school,” Garland said.

She has a full house and is struggling to make ends meet.

“We’re making it work, but it would be a little easier if we get a little help with groceries and some clothing and stuff for the kids while they’re here,” Garland said.

Meanwhile, Cooper and her family have temporary visas that do not allow them to work.

“The organizations and local churches, they assisted in paying for us to be here at the hotel,” Cooper said. “And we’re grateful for that.”

But funds are running low, and community members who have stepped up to help are urging others to do the same.

“I am still wanting to help them as best I can,” said Michele Hylton Terry, a community member who has helped Bahamian families after Dorian. “And I hope that other people will open their hearts and want to do the same”

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