Nassau: 28 August, 2011
Sherita Wilson was always close to her brother and sister but hurricane Irene caused them to forge a bond they will never forget.
The siblings from Stevenson’s, Cat Island found themselves stuck in their house with water up to their chests. They had to use belts to tie themselves one to another to escape during the darkness of night.
“It was my brother’s idea,” she said. “We made our way through the bushes up to higher ground.”
When the Wilson family returned to the house, Sherita’s car was submerged in water, all their appliances destroyed and clothes ruined.
The Wilsons’ story is just one of many Deputy Leader of the PLP and Member of Parliament for Cat Island, Rum Cay and San Salvador, the Honourable Philip “Brave” Davis heard on Friday as he toured Cat Island.
In Arthur’s Town in the north, Mr. Davis spoke with Corporal Preston McCoy and other police officers who had to flee for their lives after the police station became flooded.
“We had no satellite phones to call for help,” he said.
Irene’s trail of destruction was evident throughout Cat Island affecting most homes and businesses. The storm blew down several utility poles, many of them snapped into pieces. Many residents said they believed it would be several weeks before electricity could be restored.
“We in the PLP want to work with the government, NEMA and the private sector to help get Cat Island back on its feet,” he said.
On Saturday, Mr. Davis traveled to Rum Cay and San Salvador.
The dock in Port Nelson is in disrepair and a bridge near the dock collapsed. Residents have made a makeshift bridge out of utility poles that is accessible only to pedestrians.
Several homes on Rum Cay were impacted by hurricane Irene. Francita Gardner’s home was one of them. “I’ve lost everything,” she said.
Eighty-nine year old Hermie Bain’s house had a gaping hole in the roof. She wanted to ride the hurricane out there but her daughter Weda Bain took her wheelchair-bound mother to the local shelter St. Christopher’s Anglican Church.
Hermie kept asking, “Ya’ll gon’ help fix my roof?”
But electricity was up and running in a very short time.
BEC representative Joseph Harding and a few good men did line work immediately after the storm passed.
“We had the lights back on in one day,” he said.
San Salvador had significantly less damage but Estherlyn Baptiste who lives in the new subdivision of Sandy Point had to move her disabled husband from one room to another after the roof fell in.
“I am so distressed,” she said.
Mrs. Baptiste has not had it easy. Rehabilitative Services told her they were unable to do much to help her husband and now she has the challenge of dealing with major repairs from Irene.
“This is just too much,” she said.
Up to Saturday, NEMA had not yet reached Rum Cay and San Salvador. However, they are not expected to carry out post-hurricane relief efforts on their own. “The country has to come together to help all the victims of hurricane Irene,” Philip Davis said.