By Angela Hill, IFRC

In the three months since Hurricane Dorian struck the Bahamas, devastating parts of the islands of Grand Bahama and Abaco, the Red Cross has helped thousands of families with emergency, life-saving relief, financial assistance, psychosocial support.

As people return to their home island to start recovery, the Red Cross is providing ongoing support.

More than six weeks after they evacuated Murphy Town, on Abaco Island, Della and Jacob Davis returned to the place they call home. Like many, they had trouble recognizing their community it was so changed by the Category 5 storm.

Della recalls the night of the storm like it was yesterday. She said she remembered the water was up to the windows, and parts of the roof had been blown off when she heard people calling.

“The water was so high, my heart wouldn’t allow to let the people stay out there in that time,” she said. “I said … ‘I can’t let these people die out there.’”

She invited them all into their home and waited as the water came in higher.

“If the water had come up any higher we would have just stood there and died because we didn’t have any other place to go.”

Everyone in the house evacuated to Nassau. Jacob said that as people return to Abaco they “try to be there for each other.”

Red Cross was able to support the couple with emergency relief. While some people are returning home to Abaco, others plan to stay in Nassau, at least in the near future.

Laurel Dean and her sister Emilyann Johnson evacuated to New Providence island, in the aftermath of the Hurricane Dorian. Both are working hard to get themselves and their families back on their feet.

“When you have that mindset, there is nothing else you can do just push forward,” Emilyann said.

“You work hand in hand with us,” she said of the Red Cross support the pair received.

During a recent financial distribution, more than one family left in tears of joy. Over and over people said how grateful they were, how Christmas is coming and how they didn’t know how they could continue to make ends meet and have a Christmas celebration for their family.

Ray and Agnes Cumberbatch hugged every volunteer in the building after they received assistance in Grand Bahama.

“I came in here burdened. I had a lot going on, I had a lot on my mind, with the passing of Hurricane Dorian and walking in here just now and then leaving, I’m just ‘wow,’” Agnes said.