S.E. Williams | Contributor
In 2017 it was estimated nearly 80,000 migrants whose homes were destroyed, and lives upended by the catastrophic magnitude 7.0 that rocked the island nation of Haiti in 2010 made their way to the Bahamas in wake of the devastation in hopes of starting over.
An assessment by the International Organization for Migration reported many Haitians who relocated to the Bahamas settled there in what the agency defined as “an irregular situation.”
In 2017 the Caribbean News Now publication reported the Bahamian government had threatened tens of thousands of Haitian immigrants with deportation.
Despite the government’s warning, Haitian immigrants remained in the Bahamas where many had settled in a shanty town community in Abaco called, “The Mudd.”
As Hurricane Dorian barreled toward the region most of the Haitian migrants either did not have the means or were reluctant to seek shelter offered by the Bahamian government possibly out of fear of their immigration status.
When Dorian slammed into the island nation on September 1 with sustained wind speeds of 185 mph and gusts over 200 mph, it lingered there for more than 40 hours—in its wake, the devastation was horrific and historic.
On Monday, September 9, 2019 while the fate of many who remained in “The Mudd” through the devastating hours Dorian pounded the vibrancy from the area was unknown, reporters in the region declared, “The smell of death is in the air.”
The sense of anguish and despair that has continued to permeate the island nation reverberated around the globe as once again world citizens came face to face with the un-mitigating power of Mother Nature in this era of undeniable climate change.
For many who survived the incomparable devastation of the Haitian earthquake and sought renewal in “The Mudd” of Abaco only to once again come face to face with catastrophe—this time, it is probable many of them were not fortunate enough to survive a second calamitous event.
By Monday, the death toll had risen to 43 across the nation. As body bags, additional coroners and body refrigeration devices arrived in the region, Bahamian officials were remained dire in their assessment as they once again warned the death toll is expected to rise dramatically as search and rescue efforts continued.
“Expect the worst,” they advised.
Bahamians need the support of the international community. Donations can be made through the International Red Cross at https://www.redcross.org/donate/hurricane-dorian-donations.html/.