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On Dorian-Battered Island, What’s Left? Virtually Nothing

Maxine Duncombe, the administrator of the central Abaco district, said the government had admonished residents, particularly in low-lying areas, to evacuate to proper shelters before the storm. Officials had even gone door to door, broadcasting their warnings.

“We thought people would heed the warnings,” Ms. Duncombe said Friday at the government complex.

The first refugees started arriving at the complex as the hurricane’s eye passed over Marsh Harbour. “We saw this multitude and my first instinct was to save lives,” Ms. Duncombe said. “I pushed them into every office.”

At their peak, nearly 2,000 people were sleeping in the building’s courtyard, along its colonnaded balcony and walkways, and in its administrative offices. They dried their wet clothes on the branches of bushes in and around the building, and children played on the trunk of a palm tree felled in the storm.

Their numbers had ebbed considerably by Friday as they found other sanctuaries, or a way off the island.

Andrew MacCalla, the director of international programs and emergency response at Direct Relief, a humanitarian aid organization that was flying pallets of medical supplies to the Bahamas, said the evacuation was not a choice. He likened it to Hurricane Irma, which wiped out several Caribbean islands in 2017, including Barbuda where all 3,000 people had to be evacuated.

“There wasn’t anything there, no housing, no structure, no clean water,” he said of Barbuda. This is not a quick rebuild. In the short term, it’s moving them off.”

Source: NYT > World News

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