Langston Graduate Recounts Hurricane That Destroyed Family Home In Bahamas

Monday, September 9th 2019, 5:36 pm
By: News 9

Recovery efforts are still underway in the Bahamas, after Hurricane Dorian struck the island chain as a Category 5 last week. Some of the victims have local ties, including a Langston University graduate who was in the middle of it all.

Shawn Simms was born and raised in Marsh Harbour on the island of Abaco and returned there after he graduated from Langston. Now the home he loves is reduced to rubble.

Read Related Story: Disney Will Donate More Than $1 Million To the Bahamas For Hurricane Dorian Relief

Simms sent News 9 a video driving through what is left of his neighborhood. A photo shows the shell of his house, where he and his family rode out the storm.

“You hear things popping,” Simms recalled. “They are the shingles popping off the house of the roof. Then you may hear a big pop. That would be a plywood, and now you’re thinking, ‘I have to get out of here.’”

The Simms family has since evacuated, staying with friends in Nassau. The smaller island is now holding people from both Abaco and Grand Bahama.

“We don’t know where to start because everything is gone,” Simms said.

His family cannot stay in Nassau forever, so Simms is looking into moving to other Bahamian islands for the next few years. He is just devastated at the complete loss of what his people worked so hard to build.

Simms said, “I went to Langston and when I came back, the development was a little bit better. Things were getting better and getting better and getting better, and then something like this happens.”

Plus, he said the death toll is much higher than the official number, as crews have yet to even assess the poorer parts of the islands or those who were swept away to sea.

“There are bodies that are still unfound, but you can smell them,” Simms admitted, “because the scent before I left was already in the air.”

He also said help is not coming as quickly as it should be, despite the outside world's efforts.

“There was so much red tape that they weren’t given the okay to come, or they weren’t given the okay to assist,” he described.

More help may be needed as Tropical Storm Gabrielle now makes its way towards the island chain.

Simms advises you to donate directly to locals in need for the most effective result. To help Simms and his family recover, click here.


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