From decimated homes to planes in the street, survivors of Hurricane Dorian show the devastation the storm brought to the Bahamas.
A gofundme drive for the Humane Society of Grand Bahama had drawn more than $160,000 in donations Tuesday to rebuild the shelter where more than 90 dogs and cats died in floodwaters from Hurricane Dorian.
The historic, Category 5 storm slammed into the Bahamas Sept. 1 and lingered for days, destroying entire communities and leaving tens of thousands of residents homeless. The government’s official death toll stood at 50 Tuesday but was expected to greatly increase.
The Humane Society’s Facebook page chronicles the devastating progression of the waters into the shelter. The group’s team of six survived the storm – but only after lashing themselves together and swimming to higher ground, according to one post.
More than 150 animals also survived, shelter director Tip Burrows said.
“I am not quite ready to speak at length about our horrific losses but please know we are all heartbroken and traumatized” an entry posted Saturday states. “Your love and concern is so appreciated.”
Julia Aylen wades through waist deep water carrying her pet dogs as she is rescued from her flooded home during Hurricane Dorian in Freeport, Bahamas, on Sept. 3, 2019. (Photo: Tim Aylen, AP)
The desperate posts began Sept. 2 when the shelter said its vehicles had become submerged and its drains weren’t working. The shelter was overwhelmed by 5 feet of water.
Two hours later a post asked for “immediate help” from rescuers, saying six people were caught in neck-high water. Three days later, the losses inside and outside the shelter were coming to light. Five of the six shelter workers lost homes in the storm.
“Yesterday was incredibly emotional for Tip and the shelter staff,” a Sept. 5 post said. “They are managing the best they can in light of all the tragedy and destruction.”
The next day an airlift began to move dogs to shelters in the U.S.
Burrows was at home during the height of the storm. But workers at the shelter were surprised by how quickly the water stormed in, she said.
“We’ve been through several storms there with no flooding issues at all,” Burrows told the Miami Herald. “So the water all of a sudden just started rushing in, they described it sort of like a raging river.”
Burrows told CNN she was “devastated” by the deaths.
“My heart is broken,” she said. “I feel so sad for the people who entrusted their animals to us and ultimately we couldn’t protect them.”
Read or Share this story: https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/nation/2019/09/10/hurricane-dorian-update-more-than-90-animals-died-bahamas-shelter/2272250001/