Volunteers help get necessities to those in Nassau shelters

'The conditions are not the best,' one evacuee says

NASSAU, Bahamas. – More than 70,000 people left behind debris and rubble in the Abaco Islands following Hurricane Dorian, and those who have not been able to stay with relatives or friends are now taking refuge in six shelters in Nassau.

"I would never want to see something like this again," one evacuee, Matt Matthas, said.

Matthas is not originally from the Abaco Islands, but now calls the area home. He said he is now torn on whether to stay and rebuild or leave.

Many evacuees like Matthas left the area with nothing but the clothes on their back and a small bag of toiletries. 

"We have to realize that we are not at home. The conditions are not the best," he said.  

Matthas said he was placed at the Kendall Issac Gymnasium, one of the shelters now at capacity with more than 400 people in the building and another 250 in tents outside.  

Matthas said he was given food, clothes and a place to sleep at the shelter. 

He is originally from St. Vincent and the Grenadines, and was living in Abaco.

"I am thinking, 'Should I go back or should I stay to rebuild?'" Matthas said.  

Volunteers are now working at nearby distribution sites so that evacuees can get what they need.

"You are making a contribution to establishing these people's lives again," Christopher Roberts said. 

For those of you wondering where your donations are going, the Thomas Robinson Stadium is one distribution center, where they have everything from food, clothes, personal hygiene items and even shoes. 

The items kept there will be provided to evacuees staying right across the street at the gymnasium.

"When people call and say, 'Hey, what do you need?' My response is, 'Anything between A and Z.' We literally need everything," Roberts said.

The Bahamas' National Emergency Management Agency said they are closely watching the capacity at other shelters and will open additional ones if needed.

While thousands of Bahamians now left homeless wait to learn where they will go to next, officials are hoping aid and unity will help them rebuild.

"We are a compassionate and generous people, and I now call on each and every one of us to summon the best of ourselves to meet the challenges that face us in rebuilding lives," said Cornelius A. Smith, Governor-General of the Bahamas.

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