AMES, Iowa — As Hurricane Dorian continues to blast through the Bahamas, native Dangle Martin said he feels helpless watching his home country suffer from afar.
Martin came to the United States for college at Iowa State University. He just began his senior year. His entire family still lives at Grand Bahama, and he now feels anxious about what his home will look like next time he returns.
“I’m more anxious about the whole situation, not knowing what’s going to happen or the state of what my island is going to be as we’re still recovering from the previous one,” Martin said.
Growing up in the Bahamas, this wasn’t the first hurricane he has seen, but he said Dorian seems to be the worst.
“Right now this hurricane is way worse than any of the others I’ve ever experienced,” Martin said.
He said his family is currently safe, but they are all feeling the wrath of Dorian in some ways. A tree fell and destroyed his mother’s car, and he said his aunt has 15 feet of water flooding her home.
“Everyone around me isn’t OK and it’s really tough to know that you have families and friends that don’t have any roofs, their walls are completely devastated and there’s flooding inside their houses. They can’t live there,” Martin said.
Many are calling the hurricane “historic.” It has already claimed five lives and shows no signs of letting up. Forecasters are predicting it will be “dangerously close” to the Florida coast by Tuesday. Dorian slammed Grand Bahama and the Abaco Islands Monday, with storm surges that rose 12 to 18 feet above normal tide.
In a press conference, Prime Minister Hubert Minnis of the Bahamas asked for prayers as officials continue to search for and rescue people.
“Downtown Grand Bahama is under three feet of water, including the ground floor of its hospital and the prime minister’s office,” Minnis said.
Forecasters said at 7 p.m. ET on Monday, the hurricane was stationary, its winds swirled at 145 mph and gusts reached 170 mph. As of 8 p.m., the National Hurricane Center said Dorian was a Category 4 storm. It had been a Category 5 storm overnight. Forecasters say the storm is stationary in the Atlantic.
Martin said one of the scariest parts is not knowing what will happen next.
“The hurricane season is yet to be over,” he said. “And knowing there’s still potential for another storm to hit, it’s hard to be optimistic about the whole situation.”
He also said any help is absolutely critical at this time. He asked that if people want to donate, look for reputable organizations that are helping with aid.
“When you have storms like Matthew and Maria and now Dorian hitting your country, you need a lot of support and money to rebuild the economy and help the people who have been devastated,” he said.
While the world waits to see what happens next, Martin will have to continue to watch the destruction from afar.
“When you’re so far away from home and all you want to be is with your family,” he said. “When can I get back home to help?”