Ashleigh Sean Rolle is a born-and-raised Bahamian who has spent the summer in Calgary working on her writing. She said the last few days have been extremely tough as she waits for news from loved ones back home.
“I think I can speak for every Bahamian that’s abroad when I say just everyone feels helpless and filled with anxiety, because you know how to prep for a hurricane… and you kind of just skipped all those steps and you’re just waiting — just waiting, trying to get any news that you possibly can from friends and family.”
Hurricanes are common in the Bahamas but Rolle said she she’s never seen anything like Dorian, which hit the islands as a Category 5 hurricane, the highest on the scale.
“This is the first time a storm has just stood still over an island like this,” Rolle said on Tuesday.
“If the roof flies off or the walls cave in on you, you have to make split-second decisions that will save your life.”
Rolle said she has been texting and phoning her family and friends throughout the storm.
“All they hear is just the wind bashing against the wall and it feels like it’s inside the house with them.”
Emergency authorities have struggled to reach victims amid conditions too dangerous even for rescue workers. They have been urging people to hang on.
While many are fleeing to safety, Rolle booked a flight home on Wednesday.
“People have lost their homes, people have lost their lives,’ Rolle said. “When you’ve made a life for yourself in a place as beautiful as the Bahamas, you never want to turn your back on that, you never want to give up.”
Rolle said she isn’t sure where to even start rebuilding with so many still in need of lifesaving help.
For many in the Bahamas, Hurricane Dorian is just another devastating blow, having just finished rebuilding from Hurricane Matthew which hit a few years back.