ENGLEWOOD, Fla. (WWSB) - Search and rescue operations continue today in the Bahamas, where the the storm sat as a Category 5 for days. Now that the storm has passed, those directly impacted have a clearer view of what lies ahead for them.
“Sitting there watching, and not being able to do anything. What your mind can play on you about what somebody’s having to go through,” Cherie Sawyer said.
Cherie and her husband, Kevin, grew up in the Abaco Islands, and raised their child there until a few years ago. They now are the restaurant managers at Snook’s Bayside Grill & Marina. Like most of us, they were in shock as Hurricane Dorian pounded the Abaco Islands in the Bahamas for close to 48 hours, knowing that their home and family members in Green Turtle Cay were having to withstand 185 mph winds and 23 feet of storm surge.
“When you live on those small of an island, it’s not like the U.S. You can’t get into a car and drive. You are limited,” Sawyer explained.
It wasn’t until Thursday morning that they received word that all their relatives are alive, but they survived what they say was the most terrifying 48 hours of their life.
“The church walls were crumbling, the roof came off, but there was a small part of it that stayed," Sawyer explained to us, "She said it was late Monday night that they realized nobody was coming from them, so they walked I think 6-8 miles to the Marsh Harbour Hospital, which was a shelter.”
Their family has been able to stay there since, but all of their homes were destroyed, and they told the Sawyers that the desperation felt by thousands on the island is unimaginable.
“There’s very limited supplies of food getting to them. They do have water, but there’s still so many people that are held up in houses in large groups that are still standing and they can’t leave. They’re just… waiting on supplies. They’re waiting on help,” said Sawyer.
Being Bahamian natives, the Sawyers have seen their fair share of hurricanes, but nothing could have prepared them for this, saying the reality is far worse than what we’re seeing and hearing.
“It’s just a matter of getting it out there right now. Time is of the essence,” Kevin Sawyer explained.
The Sawyers have jumped into action, refusing to be helpless even if they’re hundreds of miles away. They’re collecting any donations – but say tarps and tents are really needed since 90 percent of roofs were blown off on the island.
“I will be there personally to make sure that all the products that we collect are hand delivered to those who need it," said Sawyer.
All donations can be dropped off at Snook’s in Englewood. For other ways to donate, click here.