As Hurricane Dorian batters the Carolinas, what’s next for relief efforts in the Bahamas

As Hurricane Dorian batters the Carolinas, what’s next for relief efforts in the Bahamas

JUDY WOODRUFF: Hurricane Dorian is hugging
the coast of the Carolinas tonight and still
doing damage, with winds of 105 miles an hour.
The storm flooded streets in a series of towns
today and blew out power to more than 200,000
It is also blamed for four deaths in the U.S.,
plus at least 20 in the Bahamas.
John Yang reports again from Nassau in the
Bahamas on the storm’s progress.
JOHN YANG: An all-day assault, rattling winds
and unrelenting rain, as Hurricane Dorian
batters the Carolinas.
South Carolina Governor Henry McMaster:
HENRY MCMASTER (R-SC): We urge everybody to
stay inside.
If you don’t need to be out, don’t go out.
And in this kind of situation, you don’t need
to go out.
Stay off the streets.
It’s very dangerous.
JOHN YANG: Overnight, the storm actually strengthened
for a time as it push north just offshore.
Rushing water flooded streets in Charleston,
South Carolina.
By day, massive waves crashed on the Folly
Beach Pier near Charleston.
Up the coast at Myrtle Beach, a foam-covered
jeep was partially submerged.
Onlookers took selfies as waves rocked the
More than 800,000 South Carolinians were under
evacuation orders.
Some, like Michael Gordon, sought shelter
in Charleston.
MICHAEL GORDON, Charleston Resident: They’re
expecting a lot of water downtown, and it
was best to get out.
Prepare — I mean, hope for the best, prepare
for the worst.
And I’m preparing for the worst.
JOHN YANG: But Chip Ervin and others decided
to ride it out.
CHIP ERVIN, Charleston Business Owner: We
just kind of waited and watched the storm
to decide what was going on, and we have been
through enough storms that we kind of just
wait and kind of see how they play out.
JOHN YANG: As the day progressed, Dorian lumbered
toward North Carolina, where the Outer Banks
barrier islands are vulnerable.
Governor Roy Cooper:
ROY COOPER (D-NC): Get to safety, and stay
Don’t let your guard down.
This won’t be a brush-by, whether it comes
ashore or not.
JOHN YANG: Cooper also warned of storm surges
that could reach seven feet.
Another danger?
One ripped through Emerald Isle south of Wilmington,
leaving shredded homes and fences in its wake.
In the Bahamas, Dorian’s devastation was again
on display.
Under sunny skies and along now calm shores,
leveled homes and yachts tossed around a damaged
On Abaco Islands, survivors faced their new
In a shantytown known as The Mud, a rainbow
rose out of the vast rubble.
Andrew Evans arrived in Nassau today from
ANDREW EVANS, Abaco Resident: Everything in
Abaco is totally destroyed.
It literally looks like we were bombed.
Everything in Abaco is gone.
JOHN YANG: A flurry of rescue and aid groups
geared up in Nassau, hoping to make it to
Abaco and Grand Bahama tomorrow.
Heather Hunt, an attorney on Abaco, started
a group called Restoration Abaco.
HEATHER HUNT, Restoration Abaco: As time goes
on and the days go by, we have to add other
things, like building materials and appliances
or whatever else the needs are once we get
there and get a full assessment.
But, right now, it’s just food and water,
medical supplies, making sure everyone is
safe and secure and well-fed.
JOHN YANG: Her group rented a 90-foot barge
to haul relief supplies.
And celebrity chef Jose Andres is leading
a team in the kitchen of the Atlantis Hotel
Convention Center in Nassau.
Today, they cook massive batches of pasta
soup and made thousands of tuna fish sandwiches
for survivors on Grand Bahama and Abaco.
Today’s goal, 10,000 sandwiches.
Here in this marina in Nassau, some of these
pleasure boats are being loaded up, ready
to make the run tomorrow to Abaco island.
These four boats are being loaded with supplies
donated by Chattanooga businessman Lou Lentine.
They have 20,000 tarps, generators, medical
supplies, tents, toiletries.
They expect to get offshore of Hope Town,
Abaco, and they hope to stay there for three
or four days and ferry all this stuff onshore,
an example of people taking efforts into their
own hands.
JUDY WOODRUFF: And, John, you were telling
us that you have just seen widespread examples
of this, of individuals moving to do what
they can on their own.
JOHN YANG: That’s right.
In the spot, we talked about the group Restoration
Abaco and heard from one of the organizers.
Another organizer we met last night was Danalee
Penn Mackey.
She’s a native of Abaco.
She is now a mortician here in Nassau and,
interestingly, is organizing other morticians
across the Bahamas.
And she told us the idea behind her efforts.
DANALEE PENN MACKEY, Mortician: Me, as a funeral
director, I’m told that there are the number
of casualties arising.
I have deployed a team of professional morticians.
In fact, we were supposed to go today.
We couldn’t get in, but we’re leaving in the
But the hard part for me is, I don’t know
if I will be retrieving my own loved ones.
I have my mother, I have aunts, I have uncles,
I have brothers, I have sisters, I have nieces,
I have nephews all in the area where there
has been no, no, no relief at this particular
time, no rescue, no recovery.
JOHN YANG: Just an example of people taking
— making efforts on their own in the midst
of great personal tragedy, Judy.
JUDY WOODRUFF: And, John, you were also telling
us about a number of nongovernmental organizations,
how they are trying in their way to provide
help and the challenges they face.
JOHN YANG: In the last couple of days, there
have been a number of NGO officials who have
been privately complaining about the government’s
pace of giving them permission to take their
efforts out to Grand Bahama, out to Abaco.
They feel stifled, they feel frustrated that
they haven’t been able to act faster.
But, on the other hand, there are other NGOs
who say they understand, that they feel that
they need to work with the government, not
go out there on their own.
Here’s Joan Kelly of the Heart to Heart International
JOAN KELLY, Heart to Heart International:
I would say that, generally speaking, it’s
important that we work through the agencies
that exists here.
They will be here long after we leave and
were here before we were.
Frankly, but this is going to be a long-term
And I think everyone’s going to need a long-term
So that’s, I think, most critical.
JOHN YANG: We reached out to the Bahamian
government for a response to the complaints
of some of the NGOs.
We haven’t heard back.
And I should also add that, among the NGO
community, there seems to be a sense of optimism
that things are changing, things are getting
moving, that perhaps tomorrow or in the coming
days they will be able to get out and start
their efforts on the two — on the islands.
JUDY WOODRUFF: And, John, I gather we are
only beginning to understand the full sweep
of just how devastating this hurricane has
And some of that sense we’re getting is from
these before-and-after images of these islands
before and after this hurricane.
JOHN YANG: Yes, that’s exactly right, from
social media, from people on the islands who
were sending out pictures like this of the
airport on Abaco, just showing how the airport
has been inundated, the runways inundated
with water, with sand, with debris.
The force of the hurricane-force winds sitting
on that island, sitting over it for more than
two days, and we can see the devastation and
the effects of that in those before-and-after
JUDY WOODRUFF: So much work left to be done.
John Yang, reporting for us tonight from Nassau
in the Bahamas, thank you, John.

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