ABACO ISLANDS, Bahamas (WSAV) — The Abaco Islands and Grand Bahama are still facing devastation after Dorian hit — a category five hurricane that killed at least 45 people with hundreds more missing. Many citizens are pleading to just get off the island.
“I have a family with me. Okay?” Abacos resident Shawn Smith said. “Once I reach Nassau I’m fine. I just need to get out.”
Savannah Aviation has been collecting donations for the past few weeks and is flying them directly to the islands that need them most.
Savannah Aviation is working with local organizations in the Bahamas who are specifically targeting remote areas with no access to evacuations or other relief.
Still, Bahamians say they are rebuilding their towns from the ground up and will need a lot of support to do so. Gary and Lynette Cooper have lived in the Abacos their whole lives and lost loved ones to Dorian’s destruction.
“Ten times worse than what we have ever seen,” Abacos resident Lynette Cooper said. “We have seen Floyd. But this one is nothing, can’t compare Floyd to this one. We have cousins, aunts, uncles that died.”
Letroy Russel is also a lifelong resident of the Abaco Islands and says they’ve never faced the kind of destruction Dorian caused.
“It was all gone,” Russel said. “You say, ‘I’m going home.’ To what? There’s no roof, there’s no water, there’s no power. There’s nothing. I guess that’s why I’m here because we’ve got to do something.”
Even though everything surrounding him is in ruins, Letroy says volunteering is the right thing to do:
“If you look around everything looks burnt and brown. This was a green, lush, vibrant place. When you think back about that, that’s what inspires me to do what I’m doing right now, so that’s why I’m doing it. Everyone’s in need of help, so it’s the right thing to do right now. Let’s just help one another.”
Savannah Aviation teamed up with Missionary Flights International based out of Ft. Pierce, Florida to deliver the donations they’ve been collecting over the past few weeks.
Savannah Aviation, which provides aircraft maintenance and flight training, is communicating with people on the ground in the Bahamas to stay up-to-date on what their needs are.
The following items are needed: non-perishable foods, generators, clothing, power tools, water filtration devices, baby formula, toiletries, women’s hygiene kits, diapers, wet wipes, tarps, mosquito repellant, large trash bags, gloves, portable stoves, butane canisters, and air mattresses.
Savannah Aviation also says that they will be flying anyone who needs to come back from the Bahamas. They will transport anyone who needs to evacuate to Nassau or any U.S. citizens back to Florida.
Savannah Aviation is accepting donations until Thursday, September 12 at 5 p.m. Their storage facility reached max capacity, but they are still seeking donations on Savannah Avation’s GoFundMe page to help offset transportation costs.