Bahamian man returns home after days in Hurricane Dorian relief shelters to find it destroyed

This is the tragic moment a Bahamian man returned home after spending six days in Hurricane Dorian relief shelters, only to find it gone.

Bradley Forbes was heartbroken to find the structure, on the East End of Grand Bahama, completely destroyed by the deadly storm this week.

His boat – which was tied between two trees – also vanished as a result of the hurricane which has caused a tremendous loss of life’ in Abaco’s main city of Marsh Harbor, Bahamas Health Minister Duane Sands said. 

He confirmed to CNN that the death toll on Friday had risen to 43, but warned it could climb to the thousands.

During a briefing with media, he said: ‘I am sure that your reporters have seen uncollected bodies on the ground. I am sure there are many persons who know individuals who have personally lost loved ones. So where we end up with the death toll is likely to be significantly higher than where we are right now.’  

After spending 6 days in a shelter, Bradley Forbes returned to his home on the East End of Grand Bahama, in the aftermath of Hurricane Dorian's tragic strike on the island

After spending 6 days in a shelter, Bradley Forbes returned to his home on the East End of Grand Bahama, in the aftermath of Hurricane Dorian's tragic strike on the island

After spending 6 days in a shelter, Bradley Forbes returned to his home on the East End of Grand Bahama, in the aftermath of Hurricane Dorian’s tragic strike on the island

His house, boat and car are no longer there when he returned after nearly a week away while the storm hit

His house, boat and car are no longer there when he returned after nearly a week away while the storm hit

His house, boat and car are no longer there when he returned after nearly a week away while the storm hit 

A man helps a woman to cross a route destroyed by Hurricane Dorian, in High Rock, Grand Bahama, Bahamas, Friday

A man helps a woman to cross a route destroyed by Hurricane Dorian, in High Rock, Grand Bahama, Bahamas, Friday

A man helps a woman to cross a route destroyed by Hurricane Dorian, in High Rock, Grand Bahama, Bahamas, Friday

Evacuees from Marsh Harbor arrive at Nassau's port on September 6, 2019, in Nassau, New Providence. The final death toll from Hurricane Dorian in the Bahamas could be 'staggering' a government minister has said

Evacuees from Marsh Harbor arrive at Nassau's port on September 6, 2019, in Nassau, New Providence. The final death toll from Hurricane Dorian in the Bahamas could be 'staggering' a government minister has said

Evacuees from Marsh Harbor arrive at Nassau’s port on September 6, 2019, in Nassau, New Providence. The final death toll from Hurricane Dorian in the Bahamas could be ‘staggering’ a government minister has said

In photographs and video captured by DailyMail.com, Forbes is seen gazing at the wreckage of the waterside property he built for his family in the Derby neighborhood.

Objects including a television and a stove are seen on the ground by the canal. His toilet and bath were also blown from the home. 

In video footage, Forbes opens a gate with no telling which side was once the indoor space.

All that he has left now are a bag of documents he managed to retrieve. 

He was pictured assessing what belongings he had to his name as he sprawled out papers on the hood of vehicle run into the ground with its wheels removed. 

Forbes did not cry as he gratefully retrieved a marriage certificate, his property deed, and a Polaroid photograph of his daughter with Ronald McDonald.

He was also pictured holding a book he was using to learn German. 

The man who used to be a security administrator at the University of Bahamas, moved from Ackins Island in the south to Grand Bahama where he has lived for 10 years.

Now an air conditioning technician, his family stayed in Nassau as the storm hit and he struggled to sleep at various shelters over the days.

With his tractor still on site, Forbes now plans to rebuild the house he put together so one day they have something to come back to.

Bradley appeared to be nothing but a broken man upon sight of what was his home. The Bahamian health ministry said helicopters and boats are on the way to help people in affected areas, though officials warned of delays because of severe flooding and limited access

Bradley appeared to be nothing but a broken man upon sight of what was his home. The Bahamian health ministry said helicopters and boats are on the way to help people in affected areas, though officials warned of delays because of severe flooding and limited access

Bradley appeared to be nothing but a broken man upon sight of what was his home. The Bahamian health ministry said helicopters and boats are on the way to help people in affected areas, though officials warned of delays because of severe flooding and limited access

With his tractor still on site, Forbes now plans to rebuild the house he put together so one day his family has something to come back to

With his tractor still on site, Forbes now plans to rebuild the house he put together so one day his family has something to come back to

With his tractor still on site, Forbes now plans to rebuild the house he put together so one day his family has something to come back to

Objects were strewn around the land which once held Forbes' home and parts of the structure remained broken on the ground

Objects were strewn around the land which once held Forbes' home and parts of the structure remained broken on the ground

Objects were strewn around the land which once held Forbes’ home and parts of the structure remained broken on the ground

Everything was completely destroyed at the site of his former home aside from a bag of documents, seen on top of the car

Everything was completely destroyed at the site of his former home aside from a bag of documents, seen on top of the car

Everything was completely destroyed at the site of his former home aside from a bag of documents, seen on top of the car

Forbes goes through what he has left as he is pictured by DailyMail.com in the aftermath of Hurricane Dorian

Forbes goes through what he has left as he is pictured by DailyMail.com in the aftermath of Hurricane Dorian

Forbes goes through what he has left as he is pictured by DailyMail.com in the aftermath of Hurricane Dorian

Forbes is seen thumbing through his belongings in the Derby neighborhood

Forbes is seen thumbing through his belongings in the Derby neighborhood

Forbes did not cry as he gratefully retrieved a marriage certificate, his property deed, and a Polaroid photograph of his daughter with Ronald McDonald

Forbes did not cry as he gratefully retrieved a marriage certificate, his property deed, and a Polaroid photograph of his daughter with Ronald McDonald

Forbes is seen thumbing through his belongings in the Derby neighborhood. Forbes did not cry as he gratefully retrieved a marriage certificate, his property deed, and a Polaroid photograph of his daughter

Hundreds of people fled the Bahamas island of Great Abaco by boat and plane on Friday and thousands more lined up to get on a cruise ship leaving neighboring Grand Bahama to escape the catastrophic aftermath of Hurricane Dorian. 

Hundreds, if not thousands, are still missing in the country of about 400,000 people, and the official death toll, which to the bemusement of some survivors stands at only 30, is likely to soar as more bodies are discovered in the ruins and floodwaters left behind by the storm.

In Freeport, witnesses said thousands crowded the port to try to get on a Bahamas Paradise Cruise Line ship offering free passage to Florida to those with necessary U.S. immigration documentation.

Dazed evacuees, some with nothing but the clothes on their backs and plastic shopping bags, sat in the Kendal G. L. Isaacs National Gymnasium in Nassau which has been turned into a shelter.

‘Nobody can help anybody in Abaco, there’s no place safe, everything is destroyed,’ said Firstina Swain, 75, who said she lost her home. ‘The people of Abaco need to get out, there are too many dead bodies, and I don’t think they finished finding them.’

A house lays shattered, destroyed by Hurricane Dorian, in High Rock, Grand Bahama, Bahamas, Friday Sept. 6, 2019. The Bahamian health ministry said helicopters and boats are on the way to help people in affected areas, though officials warned of delays because of severe flooding and limited access

A house lays shattered, destroyed by Hurricane Dorian, in High Rock, Grand Bahama, Bahamas, Friday Sept. 6, 2019. The Bahamian health ministry said helicopters and boats are on the way to help people in affected areas, though officials warned of delays because of severe flooding and limited access

A house lays shattered, destroyed by Hurricane Dorian, in High Rock, Grand Bahama, Bahamas, Friday Sept. 6, 2019. The Bahamian health ministry said helicopters and boats are on the way to help people in affected areas, though officials warned of delays because of severe flooding and limited access

A woman is overcome as she looks at her house destroyed by Hurricane Dorian, in High Rock, Grand Bahama, Bahamas, Friday

A woman is overcome as she looks at her house destroyed by Hurricane Dorian, in High Rock, Grand Bahama, Bahamas, Friday

A woman is overcome as she looks at her house destroyed by Hurricane Dorian, in High Rock, Grand Bahama, Bahamas, Friday

People get in a ferry at Marsh Harbour Government Port during an evacuation operation after Hurricane Dorian hit

People get in a ferry at Marsh Harbour Government Port during an evacuation operation after Hurricane Dorian hit

People get in a ferry at Marsh Harbour Government Port during an evacuation operation after Hurricane Dorian hit

Refugees of Hurricane Dorian arrive at the Kendal GL Isaacs National Gym on September 6, 2019, in Nassau, New Providence

Refugees of Hurricane Dorian arrive at the Kendal GL Isaacs National Gym on September 6, 2019, in Nassau, New Providence

Refugees of Hurricane Dorian arrive at the Kendal GL Isaacs National Gym on September 6, 2019, in Nassau, New Providence

People sit in a ferry at Marsh Harbour Government Port during an evacuation operation after Hurricane Dorian hit the Abaco Islands in Marsh Harbour

People sit in a ferry at Marsh Harbour Government Port during an evacuation operation after Hurricane Dorian hit the Abaco Islands in Marsh Harbour

People sit in a ferry at Marsh Harbour Government Port during an evacuation operation after Hurricane Dorian hit the Abaco Islands in Marsh Harbour

Medical volunteers traveling with Bahamas Paradise Cruise Line visiting clinics and organizing medicine in Grand Bahama

Medical volunteers traveling with Bahamas Paradise Cruise Line visiting clinics and organizing medicine in Grand Bahama

Medical volunteers traveling with Bahamas Paradise Cruise Line visiting clinics and organizing medicine in Grand Bahama

A boat with 250 evacuees left battered Abaco and arrived in Nassau, the capital of the Bahamas, which is located on New Providence island to the west and was less affected. Another boat with hundreds aboard was on its way, National Voice of the Bahamas radio reported.

Approximately 200 people were also evacuated from Abaco Friday on Bahamasair flights, according to a NEMA spokesperson who declined to be named.

‘Free air evacuations on Bahamasair from Abaco started (Thursday) and will continue until all Grand Bahama and Abaco residents who want to leave are off the islands,’ Prime Minister Hubert Minnis said in a tweet.

Four survivors told Reuters on Thursday they had been charged $75 for a seat on a Bahamasair flight from Abaco to Nassau. ‘I thought a relief flight would be free,’ said Anthony Thompson, 27, who said he paid the fare for himself, his wife and his sister. ‘I thought wrong.’

A Bahamasair official, who requested anonymity, told Reuters the airline was collecting its customers whose flights had been canceled during the hurricane. To the extent extra seats were available, it was offering to ferry others off Abaco ‘at cost,’ the official said.

The medical chief of staff at Princess Margaret Hospital in Nassau said two refrigerated, 40-foot trucks would be needed to hold the ‘staggering’ number of bodies that were expected to be found. ‘We’ve ordered lots of body bags,’ said Dr. Caroline Burnett-Garraway.

Those injured by the storm, which at one point was a Category 5 hurricane on the five-step Saffir-Simpson scale of intensity, were treated for fractures, head injuries, lacerations, skin rashes and dehydration.

People get into an airplane at the Leonard M. Thompson International Airport during an evacuation operation after Hurricane Dorian hit the Abaco Islands

People get into an airplane at the Leonard M. Thompson International Airport during an evacuation operation after Hurricane Dorian hit the Abaco Islands

People get into an airplane at the Leonard M. Thompson International Airport during an evacuation operation after Hurricane Dorian hit the Abaco Islands

A woman reacts as she is moved to a wheelchair at the Leonard M. Thompson International Airport during an evacuation operation after Hurricane Dorian hit the Abaco Islands in Marsh Harbour, Bahamas

A woman reacts as she is moved to a wheelchair at the Leonard M. Thompson International Airport during an evacuation operation after Hurricane Dorian hit the Abaco Islands in Marsh Harbour, Bahamas

A woman reacts as she is moved to a wheelchair at the Leonard M. Thompson International Airport during an evacuation operation after Hurricane Dorian hit the Abaco Islands in Marsh Harbour, Bahamas

A volunteer holds hands with a woman at the Leonard M. Thompson International Airport during an evacuation operation

A volunteer holds hands with a woman at the Leonard M. Thompson International Airport during an evacuation operation

A volunteer holds hands with a woman at the Leonard M. Thompson International Airport during an evacuation operation

Near an area called The Mudd in Marsh Harbour, the commercial hub, a Reuters witness described a devastating scene, with most houses leveled, a man lying dead near a main street and dead dogs in water. Some residents were leaving the area with meager possessions, while others were determined to remain.

The U.S. Coast Guard, working with NEMA, has rescued 295 people since Dorian began, the U.S. embassy in Nassau tweeted.

Relief groups are focusing on getting doctors, nurses and medical supplies into the hardest-hit areas and helping survivors get food and safe drinking water.

The relief effort faces formidable logistical challenges because of the widespread destruction caused by Dorian, which hovered over the Bahamas for nearly two days with torrential rains and fierce winds that whipped up 12- to 18-foot (3.7- to 5.5-meter) storm surges.

The risk of outbreaks of diarrhea and waterborne diseases is high because drinking water may be contaminated with sewage, according to the Pan American Health Organization, which described the situation for some people on Abaco as ‘desperate.’

The United Nations estimated 70,000 people were in ‘immediate need of life-saving assistance’ such as food, water and shelter. The U.N. World Food Programme is airlifting storage units, generators, prefab offices, and satellite equipment as well as 8 metric tonnes of ready-to-eat meals. 

A Reuters witness saw widespread looting on Abaco, with people breaking into supermarkets and liquor stores.

Wendy Hawkes, whose home on Abaco was largely destroyed, described seeing neighbors standing outside their front doors with shotguns to ward off looters.

Claudin Loriston, 39, said he and his three young children were among the ‘lucky ones’ to get on a plane out of Abaco. He said he had no documents with him, but he would try to get a job to support his family.

‘There are too many dead bodies there,’ said the Haitian carpenter. ‘The government needs to remove everyone from the island, the smell is everywhere, it’s in the water.’

 

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