Those signs will probably be there for a while. Almost three months after Hurricane Dorian became the strongest storm to make landfall in the
"Totally unacceptable," said
When 23 feet of storm surge sloshed over
While the island nation is out from under the gun of another potentially punishing storm for the next six months, the grueling task of getting Bahamians back into their homes and jobs has barely begun.
Her three sons, Rojade, 14, Rotario, 12, and Gabriel, 7, are back in school, but they have to wake up extra early for the longer commute to the school buildings that are still standing.
"We're just trusting God day by day that things will get a little easier," she said.
The Tate family survived the storm in the roofless wreckage of a neighbor's home, standing in chest-high water with an upside-down plastic bin over their heads to protect them from deadly flying debris. They waited for 48 hours, Joyce shaking her son Gabriel awake every time he slumped low enough in her arms to touch the floodwaters.
On Saturday, they lined up outside the half-wrecked gates of a
His team helped prepare the meal, sponsored by big-time real estate developer
"You go to churches and it's still 100 people sleeping in the ballroom. It's still very critical here," he said.
Dorian's damage has been estimated at
More than 240 people are still missing, Lewis said. And they aren't done sifting through the rubble on Abaco and identifying bodies. Just this month, police recovered two more bodies from the shantytown in Abaco known as the Mudd. The death toll is now 69.
"I don't believe we've ever been faced with this level of crisis," said
Mackey, 66, said the physical impacts of Dorian are hard to spot in
Inside is where you can smell the mold, see the gutted homes and tents serving as makeshift houses. It's where you hear the stories of "anxiety and hopelessness" Bahamians share. Since the disaster, she said, the formerly taboo topic of mental health has been more openly discussed.
'You would look at that house and think nothing went wrong, but you go inside that door and you see," she said. "The outside public cannot really determine how unbalanced life is right now."
"People are still hungry. There's a lot of need here," she said. "Everyone who was washed out from down the island is here now and they still need help."
Even years after a crisis, experts say housing is the hardest part of recovery.
Hurricane Michael hit
"Housing has [been] and remains on the forefront of our priorities for the next five years," he said.
"I think hurricane long-term recovery is going to be day to day government business in
Similar to when Hurricane Irma smashed into the Keys in 2017 but left tourist capital
Lewis, with the Bahamian government, said recovery is "going pretty well," despite the challenges. Debris cleanup is progressing quickly, he said, and the government is in talks to hire even more cleanup crews.
All the seaports are open, and the airport in Abaco is fully open, with the
The government's planned Family Relief Center, which will temporarily house about 270 families in structures that can withstand 200 mph winds, is set to open in January. Families are expected to stay for up to two years while their homes are rebuilt, "which will take us through another two hurricane seasons," Lewis said.
Dorian's mighty winds also blew the caps off oil tanks on
But Darville said he was "absolutely horrified" at the damage to the acres of forest, where oil sat knee-deep in some places and coated pine needles for dozens of acres. He said it was 10 days before the company began cleaning up the spill.
"My main concern is that there was very little observation from the government. I sympathize with that because of the catastrophic nature of Dorian," he said. "They must have pushed the
The company has since cleaned up most of the oil, which was largely contained near its coastal facility. Last weekend employees started the forest cleanup, which is much trickier.
"It's probably going to take at least six months, bringing us right into the hurricane season," Darville said.
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