'Devastation has been massive,' Bahamas consul general in Miami says

Linda Mackey thankful for help Bahamas has already received

By Peter Burke - Local10.com Managing Editor, Trent Kelly - Reporter

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. - As powerful Hurricane Dorian pummels the Bahamas, the commonwealth's consul general in Miami said Monday that the island chain has been devastated by the fierce storm.

"The devastation has been massive," Linda Mackey told Local 10 News reporter Trent Kelly at Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport, where she was coordinating relief efforts for the Bahamas. "Parts of Marsh Harbor has been flattened. There's a lot of displacement. There's going to be great needs. We're now accumulating donations of the needed supplies and the bare necessities -- medical, water and food."

Dorian made landfall Sunday in the northwestern Bahamas as a massive Category 5 hurricane, packing top winds of 185 mph. On Sunday, the slow-moving storm's eye remained wobbling near the island of Grand Bahama, home to Freeport, the largest city in the Bahamas.

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Mackey said the Bahamas is getting help from the U.S. Marines, which has a team on the water headed that way.

"The window of opportunity is small," Mackey said, because the hurricane is forecast to travel along the U.S. East Coast.

But, she added, "We're trying to take advantage of the help that we can get right now."

The National Association of the Bahamas has already established an online fund to donate money for its hurricane relief efforts. There is also a grassroots effort from South Florida residents and organizations who have begun collecting relief supplies and donations.

"We've never had anything like this," Mackey said of the devastation.

Mackey said she could hardly sleep during the night.

"You just can't sleep knowing that people are displaced and people have needs," she said.

But Mackey is thankful for all the help the Bahamas has already gotten.

"The U.S. has been really good to us," she said.

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