Hurricane Dorian may be gone, but the efforts to help those affected by the storm have just begun. A local Red Cross representative traveled to Palm Beach, Florida over the weekend to bring comfort and support to more than 1,000 Bahamian evacuees.
“A lot of tears,” communications director for American Red Cross, Jonathan McNamara, said. “Some tears of joy because they’re being reunited with their family members who they thought they would never see again.”
McNamara says during his 48-hour trip, 1,200 Bahamian evacuees arrived at the Port of Palm Beach via cruise ship. He says despite the destruction left behind, spirits were high.
“I was moved by how inspiring they were,” McNamara said. “They were very positive.”
He recounts speaking with a family that had lost everything.
“One family, in particular, they knew not only their home was gone, but the place where the mother had worked for years was washed away by the ocean,” McNamara said. “She was going through her Facebook contacts, and trying to see who was available once she came to the US. Then, started having the conversation of, ‘well, where is my son going to go to school?'”
McNamara says a temporary shelter was made at a nearby recreation center, and locals were offering spaces of their own.
“It was very inspiring to see that people were coming to the cruise port, and offering apartments and other ways to help,” McNamara said. “I think that’s a true testament to the human spirit.”
He says more evacuees are expected to arrive from the Bahamas, and the Red Cross will be there for assistance.
“To walk them through what we know is going to be a very challenging, not only couple of weeks, couple of months or years to come,” McNamara said.
To learn how you can help Hurricane Dorian evacuees, click here.