Trying to get to Great Abaco Island after its battering from Hurricane Dorian is a challenge.
Marinas are decimated so travelling by air from Nassau is the only real option at the moment.
Helicopters and small planes buzz around the airport as international aid groups, the Bahamian military and the US coastguard coordinate their efforts.
They are starting to reach exhausted survivors who are hurting, hungry and in need of shelter.
In these desperate times there are reports of looting with guns.
People are being advised not to land in certain areas until the military and police have things under control.
We took a small helicopter to Marsh Harbour. After an hour over the Atlantic the pure devastation comes into focus.
The number of lives lost to Hurricane Dorian is rising and it’s easy to see why.
The island’s shantytowns never stood a chance against the most powerful hurricane the Bahamas has ever experienced.
In amongst the flattened homes large shipping containers are scattered like building blocks.
The Bahamian prime minister said his country had been “at war” with this category 5 hurricane. That was no exaggeration.
Cars and trucks are strewn like toys. Homes destroyed with roofs, doors and windows blasted off.
The Marsh Harbour marina was one of the worst affected areas. There are no boats in the water anymore. Small ones were no match for this monster – even large vessels were rendered flimsy in the face of gusts exceeding 200 miles per hour. Several are strewn across roads well inland.
After three days of hell, residents like Bob Cornea have finally been brought to safety in Nassau. He’s still wearing the clothes he battled for three hours in – up to his neck in sea water.
“It sounded like a huge, huge jetliner going over. The waves – you’d just see the waves crashing into our home. We were totally battered – we were secure but it knocked out the doors and the windows. Everything.”
Alisha Cook has also made it to Nassau with her young children. She’s shaking and very tearful.
“It’s been awful – I had to send my children out – without me – on a helicopter. It’s just terrible devastation.
“My other family is still in Marsh Harbour and we need to get them out. The hurricane was totally terrifying. My family here almost drowned.”
She says there were only a couple of inches left until the water hit the ceiling of their home.
As the lucky ones like Alicia head to comfort and shelter, there are still plenty of others living in misery.
The water has receded so people are able to salvage what they can – but that’s also revealed the mammoth task ahead.
Author: Amanda Walker