Bahamas: Hurricane Frances Fails To Kill Residents' Spirit
By Candia Dames
September 8th, 2004
It was an image that told the story of an unwelcome storm: a dining room table on a small hill in San Salvador's United Estates, surrounded by the rubble of the house that was.
Residents say the fury of Hurricane Frances is something they hope they will never have to experience again.
The storm left widespread devastation in that community, where many homes were flattened and many lives impacted.
“This was a strong hurricane,” said Dwight Rolle, whose mother, Amanda, was in Nassau at the time of the Hurricane for medical reasons. “Everything was shaking, house moving, walls moving, inside the house was rocking, just making noise.”
Fortunately, he was not in the small house during the storm.
When asked how his mother will probably react when she sees the devastation, Mr. Rolle said, “They'll probably have to get an emergency flight and take her back out of here.”
His uncle, Rex Nairn, said it was heart wrenching for him to see his sister's house reduced to shambles, given that he lost his own home to fire about too weeks ago.
Mr. Nairn remembers that when the eye passed over San Salvador, he went outdoors with his grandson and took a walk.
But he said he could never have imagined what the tail end of the hurricane would have brought.
He said there was “a lot of beating, and slamming.”
“I heard the whistling so I told [my grandson] ?It's time to get back in. Now we're going to have some problems.' I looked through the backdoor and everything was just flying.”
Down the street, Rev. Leo Jones was still surveying the damage left by Hurricane Frances when Prime Minister Perry Christie and his team of technical experts visited on Sunday.
“This is the worst one that I've ever experienced in all my life,” he said, adding that he basically had nothing left.
Asked what his reaction was when he returned from the hurricane shelter to see his home, Rev. Jones said, “The only thing I did was lift my hands to heaven and say ?Praise the Lord' because the fact is I believe in God.”
His roof had blown off and everything inside was flooded. The furniture and other contents in the house were dragged out.
The house owned by Bernard Storr didn't fare much better.
While most residents scurried to hurricane shelters for safety, he braved the storm at home with his adult son and told the Bahama Journal it was a “scary experience.”
“There were winds over 140 miles per hour and it was very detrimental,” Mr. Storr said. “If it hadn't been for my boy, I don't know if I would have survived.”
When the merciless winds blew out his windows, he said the splinters tore into his flesh.
“When the plywood flew down, he and I got back up in winds over 100 miles per hour and nailed it back on,” Mr. Storr said.
While horror was unfolding indoors, outside the Storr's home, two coconut trees were swaying helplessly in the barreling winds.
It wasn't long before they came crashing down, smashing Mr. Storr's car, but even that wasn't enough to put him in a foul mood.
After visiting San Salvador on Sunday, Prime Minister Christie noted that the spirit of the people remained strong, despite the devastation.
He added, “In San Salvador, we were distressed to witness the damage at United Estates, the largest settlement in San Salvador.
”It appears that a large number of the houses have received considerable damage, so much so that the Government of the Bahamas is at this time, preparing a strategy to address that particular matter with a view to facilitating the people of that community being able to move with some speed toward the resolution to the problems that they face."
Reprinted from Zongoo.com Daily Press & Consumer Information