|A Rubis gas station roof that collapsed during |
Hurricane Matthew in Nassau, Bahamas
It was like an evil force determined to get through our walls and blow us and everything inside our
home out into the elements. Hurricane Matthew pounded at our southern house wall
and tore around the other sides of the building like a mad thing. The steel
panels over our windows flexed frantically with the constant beating by the
heavy rain and winds. Nassau
The first leak in the ceiling started in a weak spot, where there had been a leak in a previous storm. We rushed to get a bucket. Then, one by one, more leaks spurted from above us. We used up all of our pots to catch the streams of water and then started pulling out baking dishes.
The night before, I’d grabbed some of our family photos, memorabilia of nostalgic value, passports and important documents, and stuffed them into three small suitcases. I’d heard too many tales of families losing irreplaceable items in a natural disaster. I wanted to be ready if we had to evacuate. I’d also covered electronics, boxes we had in storage, and other objects with large plastic garbage bags. We still moved some of the items out of the way in case of a possible ceiling collapse.
We listened to a local radio station, but advisories didn’t seem to be up to date. Later it was reported in local newspapers that
’s Meteorology department had problems
with their radar equipment in the storm and they also had to be evacuated. Nassau
I attempted to follow the path of Matthew on my phone, having added a week’s data, but the internet was slow and online reports often conflicted with each other. Our sons in a nearby location kept us informed whenever they found a reliable advisory.
Our power company had exercised a controlled shut down across the island. The city water supply went off from time to time, but we had saved water in the bathtub. With an electric stove, we couldn’t cook anything, so we ate leftovers, bread, fruit and cereal. Later, the ice that we had made in freezer bags to preserve the refrigerated food melted and we had to throw away the remainder of the perishables.
After Hurricane Matthew stormed away from here, looking for more victims to wreak havoc on, we ventured out of our apartment. We were not surprised to see the trail of destruction Matthew left behind. Many of our roof tiles had blown off, which had caused the leaks, but some people actually lost their roofs.
Now we are waiting until the long lines at the gas pumps die down, so we can top up our gas. There are also scores of residents anxiously queuing for cooked food at fast food restaurants and ice is currently a precious commodity. Empty shelves in food stores await fresh supplies. All of this can be tolerated though. Of paramount importance is that we have had no loss of lives here due to Hurricane Matthew, except sadly when a man died from a heart attack while he was securing his home.
Our electric supply was restored yesterday afternoon after fifty-six hours of being without power. Then it went off again for a few more hours today. However, we are very fortunate. There are many residents across the island whose power is not on yet, due to downed power lines or flooding. And some homes are still flooded in low lying areas. Others are badly damaged by the storm surge, which raged in from the ocean.
and its people are resilient though. They will rebuild their lives and in decades
to come old Bahamians will tell their grandchildren about Hurricane Matthew, the
devastating hurricane of October 2016. Bahamas