Hurricane Dorian devastated the Bahamas, when it made landfall as a Category 5 storm this week.
Sarah Ann Showell, whose family owns a resort on the island, has now seen the catastrophic damage for herself.
“They don’t look anything [like] they’re supposed to,” she says. “Entire buildings are flattened, trees are all snapped like toothpicks, there’s no greenery left.”
She flew over Green Turtle Cay, a Bahamian island hit by hurricane Dorian, to see what the storm had done.
"It’s actually hard to figure out what you’re looking at, and these are places that you know very well," Showell says.
Showell needed to see what the storm did to her family's resort, Green Turtle Club, the largest employer on the island with about 50 employees.
While the storm left its mark, she says everyone she knows who stayed on this island for Dorian is safe.
Her marina's docks are still standing, but some of the club’s buildings and many other of the island's structures are destroyed.
“From the air, it’s pretty crazy to see because it’s really hard to recognize places that you’ve been going your whole life," she says.
She is now leading an effort to get help to the people of the Bahamas.
Showell has set up multiple drop-off locations in South Florida. You can find them here .
"It looks like little mini tornadoes, just like ruining certain areas," she says. "If they’re not flattened, they’re compromised to the point where they’re not livable. So, they’re saying over and over again that they need tarps. Big ones. Heavy duty ones.”
Along with tarps, she says boots are also needed.
"It’s a flip-flop world over there," Showell says. "They need durable boots that are waterproof, even sneakers, anything they can work on, work and get stuff done in.”
She says high-priority items for people in the Bahamas include:
- Handheld radios
- Bug repellent
- Mosquito netting
- Air mattresses
- Warm clothes
- Box fans
- Hand pumps
Other items needed for hurricane relief include: heavy-duty work gloves, solar camping lamps, light blankets, staple gun/staples, batteries (AA, AAA, D), water purification tablets/kits, submersible pumps, gas cans, extension cords, power strips, can openers, soft coolers, canned goods, non-perishable foods, solar cell phone chargers, flashlights, portable burner stoves, propane cans, garbage bags, electrolytes, first aid items, baby formula, pet food, soft luggage/backpacks, plastic storage bins
Hygiene items needed include: baby wipes, shampoo, deodorant, toothpaste, toothbrushes, diapers, soap, tampons/pads, hair ties, sunscreen, and anything you would want to have to keep you comfortable when camping.
Showell already raised more than $200,000 in just 48 hours with a GoFundMe page . Much of that money will fuel planes to get those donations across.
The flight from South Florida to the Bahamas is less than an hour. She says the connection between the two places is about the people.
“The people you meet and the connections that you make with the locals are so special. They are the most generous, heartwarming people I’ve ever met,” she says. “They would give you the shoes off their feet the clothes off their back.”
Bahamians who now need that to be done for them more than ever before.
GoFundMe has also started an official page with many verified organizations assisting in raising funds to provide relief to those impacted by Hurricane Dorian. You can find a list of those organizations here .
Other ways you can assist victims of the hurricane can be found here .