ORLANDO, Fla. (FOX 35 ORLANDO) - As some spotty cell phone and internet service returns to the Abacos and Freeport, in the Bahamas, desperate pleas from residents are making clear just how dire the situation is following Hurricane Dorian.
Trina Smith lives in Freeport. She only had enough phone coverage to text her story and a few videos to FOX 35 Friday, but she, like others shared a story of a struggle to survive.
Smith said she lives about seven miles off the coast of the small island in an area where flooding has never even been a concern.
“We were not told to leave our area or to evacuate because our area is so far inland, and we never had flooding in our area EVER,” she said via Facebook Messenger on Friday. “About the second day into the storm we were listening to the radio, and we heard that neighbourhoods [sic] near my home were starting to flood.”
Smith said the water was soon at her doorstep and rising fast so her family, which included about 13 people in their home, were forced to evacuate in the middle of the Category 5 storm in the two cars and one pickup truck they had available.
Smith said two of the vehicles stalled out on the trip and eventually everyone had to cram in to one car.
She said they attempted to take shelter with other family members but their houses too were underwater, and the family was even turned away by a local storm shelter.
“The shelter was full,” she said.
Smith described dodging tree limbs, downed power poles, high waters, and even a tree collapsing in front of their vehicle, but eventually making it to her uncle’s house to safely ride out what was left of Dorian.
Now though, she said the situation may be just as much of a struggle. Smith said they’ve been without running water since last Thursday.
She shared pictures of homes destroyed and roads torn to pieces. She said the few stores that survived the storm are out of water and even ice.
Smith said her family’s own supplies are nearly gone as well and relief is not arriving fast enough. It’s a similar story to that of the Hamilton family, who we told you about Thursday. Alan, Deborah, and their grandson Xander said they rode out the storm in a small home with about 81 other people inside and the structure slowly being torn up. That family was able to evacuate and get to family in the Lake Mary area, but they too say aid to the islands needs to speed up.
"Abaconians need help. They need desperate help,” said Alan. "We seen them looting the stores but this is a case of surviving."
"They just took the food they needed to eat,” added Deborah. "This is life and death, this is survival."
The family pleaded with Floridians to donate what they can to help.
Smith hopes the help just arrives soon enough. With the little power she had on her phone, she ended the conversation: “I pray this makes a difference.”