Families of multiple Lee students affected by Hurricane Dorian
On Sunday, Abaco and Grand Bahama Islands were devastated as Category 5 Hurricane Dorian made landfall.
Dorian left a trail of destruction in its path, taking at least seven lives in the process and destroying as many as 13,000 homes.
The storm was downgraded to a Category 3 but continued to wreak havoc for the residents on the islands after hitting a standstill for over 40 hours.
Due to the massive amounts of flooding on the islands, authorities have been unable to perform rescue missions to save trapped residents.
Senior marketing major from Nassau, Bahamas, Michael Maycock, is just one of many Lee students whose family was directly affected by Dorian.
“I have family on one of the islands that was hit directly,” Maycock said. “We went 2 1/2 days without hearing from anyone, so we got scared.”
Maycock said the uncertainty of the situation left him feeling helpless.
“As it hit and we could see the damage coming in, it hit home that I’m not there to help,” Maycock said. “You feel helpless... not being able to hear from anyone or help out.”
Maycock said that he and several of his family members took to social media to search for any sign of their loved ones.
“It’s nerve-racking, to be honest,” Maycock said. “Right now, we’re just trying to all come together to help rebuild.”
Dorian has been ranked as one of the strongest hurricanes to make landfall, having wind speeds of up to 185 miles per hour, matching the 1935 Labor Day Hurricane in terms of wind speed.
Hurricane Dorian has yet to finish its path of destruction after moving slowly away from the Bahamas. The now Category 2 hurricane threatens the east coast, traveling very close to Florida and the Carolinas.
Several southeastern states have declared a state of emergency, and several coastal cities have been forced to evacuate.
Some residents, however, have decided to stay put and weather out the storm.
Florida native and Lee University alumna Alexa Hill and her family are among those who have decided to stay put.
“Floridians who grew up here have been through so many storms that when a hurricane comes, we don’t panic,” Hill said.
They have taken the normal precautions to prepare for the storm; however they will not be leaving their home anytime soon.
While the anticipated impact of Dorian was expected to be much greater for the United States than the trajectory suggested, that does not discredit the tragedy that has befallen so many.
The U.S. government has provided resources available to aid in the disaster relief. The process of rebuilding is not uncommon to those in coastal and tropical regions but is nonetheless, a huge undertaking for any community.
The Lee Bahamian Connection club has initiated a hurricane disaster relief drive for the Bahamas that students can donate to. Canned goods, first aid kits, blankets and other items can be donated at the Leonard Center.
Lee alumna Mykah A. L. Smith took to Facebook to share a Hurricane relief GoFundMe and urged students to donate.
“My people are in desperate need of assistance,” Smith said. “We are more than just a tourist destination and pretty beaches; we are people who love our country and have hope for the future.”
You can donate to the hurricane relief fund here.
For more information on opportunities to get involved, please contact the Bahamian Connection Club at @bcc.leeu.