Recovery effort to take months in Bahamas after Hurricane Joaquin

Residents of Crooked Island evacuated to Nassau

EXUMA, Bahamas – It's been nearly one week since Hurricane Joaquin made landfall in the Bahamas, but the recovery is expected to take months.

"People are hungry. They're thirsty. They haven't drank water in three days," Clinton Rolle, who lost his home and business in the storm, said.

The impact is devastating for hundreds of victims, who lost their homes and businesses like Rolle.

"Today, one of the hardest hit areas is south point of Long Island. They're devastated," Jose Gonzalez, of Palm Beach Fire Rescue, said. "Their homes are gone. They have no power. Power isn't expected to be on for several months."

Gonzalez is part of the Pathfinder task force, a volunteer group that's in charge of leading some of the relief efforts in the Bahamas.

Their main objective is assisting with evacuations and making sure supplies are reaching the battered islands.

On Tuesday morning, Gonzalez took Local 10 News reporter Michael Seiden inside the incident command center where several agencies, including the Bahamian Red Cross, are hard at work.

All supplies are coming to Exuma, about 250 miles south of Nassau, and then volunteers are taking planes and boats to some of the hardest hit areas like Long Island, Rum Cay and Crooked Island.

"You wake up one morning and everything that you have is completely gone," Gonzalez said.

"Honestly, right now, I feel like dropping everything and heading to the United States," Rolle said.

Residents on the island said they are thankful that there were no fatalities, but the recovery effort is just beginning.

On Monday night, the Bahamian government ordered a mandatory evacuation for Crooked Island, whose residents will be sheltered in Nassau.

Anyone wishing to help with the relief efforts is asked to contact:

Bahamian National Emergency Agency
National Disaster Fund
Capt. Russell

Bahamas Red Cross
Main Line

Follow Michael Seiden on Twitter @SeidenLocal10

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