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HER Stories Hurricane Preparation

After the Storm: Two Hurricane Dorian Survivors Share Their Stories

One year ago, September 1, 2019, tragedy and devastation struck when Hurricane Dorian, a Category 5 hurricane (some would even say Category 6) made landfall in the northern islands of The Bahamas, mainly Abaco and Grand Bahama. When Dorian struck, it lingered over the beautiful islands of The Bahamas for what seemed like forever (at one point moving at 2 mph), taking aim at everything in its path. After the hurricane passed, death, heartache and tragedy became synonymous with the word Dorian for Bahamians.

As survivors are left to pick up the pieces of their lives, the trauma left by Hurricane Dorian still remains prominent today. Just last month, Tropical Storm Isaias threatened to rummage through the islands of The Bahamas, as it quickly upgraded to a hurricane. While Isaias did not leave much damage, Bahamians couldn’t help but to panic in preparation for Isaias to make landfall. PTSD kicked in for Hurricane Dorian survivors, as they prayed to God not to relive the horrid experience of another devastating hurricane.

A lot has changed for the survivors in the year that has passed, from having to live without loved ones to having to relocate. Nothing can replace what was lost but still, hope remains.

Two survivors of the monster storm took the time to share their story with us.


ABACO SURVIVOR: PRECIOUS BETHEL

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precious
 

Precious is an educator who was teaching in Abaco at Patrick J. Bethel High School before Hurricane Dorian struck. Precious is very active in her community. While in Abaco, she served as an Advisor for the Abaco Youth Empowerment Program and she was a member of her local Toastmasters Club.

REACTION TO HURRICANE DORIAN BEING A CATEGORY 5 STORM

Precious: “At first, everyone was rushing about to complete last minute preparations; the shops were crowded, the water depots were sold out and some left the island. We were filled with anxiety but no one could have been prepared for what was to come. I was quite calm in the beginning, as I was supposedly fully prepared and was staying with my fiance’s family, so I was around persons for the experience.”

EXPERIENCE DURING HURRICANE DORIAN

Precious: “As the winds picked up, I started to become alarmed. Having just found out that I was pregnant a week before, I was quite afraid for my unborn child. I heard debris flying around outside. The walls started to crack, the roof caved in and water filled the house. All we could have done was pray and cry out to God for deliverance and safety. Thank God I had Aliv, so I was able to reach out to family who called a few good Samaritans to rescue us some 9 hours later.

It was easily the most terrifying experience of my life. We went to a shelter where EVERYONE was. Fear and worry was in the air. It was hot, smelly and clustered so I preferred to go back to the caved in roof until we were able to get off of the island.”

 
AFTERMATH

Precious: “The saddest thing for me was seeing all of the homes that were compromised and hearing of the lives that were lost, including my student, Jendaya Edgecombe and two young children that I knew. I also saw 5 dead bodies on the side of the street. Sighs.”

 
LIFE AFTER HURRICANE DORIAN

Precious: “Life has been extremely different since Hurricane Dorian passed. I had to start over from scratch. My fiance’ and I had to relocate as we lost our home and had to find an apartment and car to get from point A to point B. Also, being pregnant was extremely difficult.  My biggest difficulty due to Dorian was the fact that I was an asue holder. I have lost over $20,000 after having also lost my home due to persons not paying.

One positive thing that came after Dorian was my greatest blessing, a healthy, beautiful baby girl so I give God thanks.”

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Precious’ beautiful baby girl, Kariea

After Hurricane Dorian, Precious was nominated for an award at the National Youth Awards.

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Precious at the National Youth Awards 2019 Nomination Ceremony

 

Grand Bahama Survivor: Edwina Waldron

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Edwina is a 26 year old Grand Bahama native who had just come back home from law school when Hurricane Dorian hit.

REACTIONS TO HURRICANE DORIAN BEING A CATEGORY 5 STORM

Edwina: “We were shocked when we found out the hurricane had upgraded to a Category 5 because we had just endured Hurricane Matthew in 2016 and our economy had still yet to recover. Grand Bahamians did their best to heed to evacuation protocols and preparing for the hurricane (grocery shopping, securing homes), because we had an idea of what we were up against and we prepared based on the last hurricane.”

 
EXPERIENCE DURING HURRICANE DORIAN

Edwina:My family and I lived on the outskirts of the island, roughly 2 minutes away from the beach, and in close proximity to the Harbour and completely surrounded by water. We were told to evacuate because a surge was expected.

“We moved to higher ground in The Chesapeake  area with my uncle and aunt and her children and grand children. As you can imagine, the apartment was packed but we made the best of it in the circumstances. At first, it was all fun telling stories and cracking jokes, watching movies and just spending quality time with family. But it all suddenly changed when the power and water went off. Luckily, we had charged all of our devices and portable chargers, we filled buckets and countless jugs of water. We purchased a portable gas stove and gas cans prior so we were able to have cooked food.

“When the ordeal started, the winds were extremely strong and loud. There was a lot of rain and water settled everywhere. We lost signal on the radio and at one point we were unable to reach anyone. The area I was in began to flood, but luckily it was on a slope. When the water began to rise, the hurricane had already subsided. I was worried about the reports I got from my brother who was a part of the rescue/search team with regard to the amount of people that were in danger, drowned or missing. It definitely hit home when friends and relatives started to reach out for help and there was nothing I could do except call for help and pray that they got the help they needed.”

 
AFTERMATH
 

Edwina: “The saddest thing for me after the hurricane was driving around and seeing the damage that was done and the host of people that were missing or had passed away as a result of the hurricane. It was unbelievable. I have never experienced anything like that in my entire life, nor is it something I want to I re-live. As we were driving, we constantly had to the turn around or make different pathways because some areas were completely flooded. Just looking at the state of the island after nearly 3 years of repairing and gradual recovery traumatized me. I just thought, When will we ever get a break?.

“About  2/3 days after the storm, various organizations gathered to distribute food and clothes, household items and medical supplies to families that were in need. The lines were extremely long and discouraging at times due to having to stand hours to wait for assistance, but we all had no choice. The water was also off for some time so people fetched water from Polymers and used fresh drinking water to bathe, cook or for sanitary purposes. A lot of people did not have vehicles to get the assistance they needed or had signal to reach out for help, so my family and I did our best to drive around and assist families with water and groceries.”

 
LIFE AFTER THE HURRICANE

Edwina: “The hurricane came about two weekends before I was about to embark on a new journey at Eugene Dupuch Law School in Nassau. As you could imagine there was absolutely no drive or motivation left in me after going through the hurricane. In fact, I opted to start in 2020 instead because I was not in the mental state to start Bar school which was already challenging coupled with mental and now financial instability but with the strength of God and encouragement from family members, I began my law school journey in Nassau.”

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Edwina on her first day of Eugene Dupuch Law School

Edwina: “I was set to graduate three weeks after the Hurricane (October) with my Bachelor of Laws (LL.B) Degree from the University of the West Indies in Barbados. As a result of the Hurricane, none of my family members were able to attend as planned. I felt as though I had no business celebrating my accomplishments in these circumstances, and again, I opted not to go. However, with the support of my family and friends I was encouraged to go alone and celebrate my achievements and I was grateful to still have the opportunity to graduate!”

 
 
LESSONS FROM HURRICANE DORIAN

Life is precious, make the most of it.

Never trivialize hurricanes, they are deadly.

Be your brother’s keeper.

There is power in prayer and UNITY!


Hurricane Dorian survivors continue to rebuild their lives. As Lyrically Blessed said, “We’ll be stronger, we’ll be better than ever before after the storm… We will rise again.”

Continue to keep Precious, Edwina and the other hurricane Dorian survivors in your prayers as they continue to deal with the aftermath of the storm.

What inspired you from these ladies’ stories? Let us know in the comments!

Categories
Hurricane Preparation

Everything You Need to Know About Hurricane Insurance Coverage

The Bahamas is no stranger to hurricanes as we are located in the hurricane belt. (In fact, as we edit this post, a Category 1 storm is heading in our direction.) As we brace for impact, we can’t help but to think of the tragedy that our brothers and sisters in the Northern Islands of The Bahamas endured last year with Hurricane Dorian, and the anxiety they may be facing now as another storm makes its way up the archipelago.

Hurricane Dorian highlighted the importance of having home insurance, as a news report stated that it was estimated that 17% of residents in The Bahamas found themselves homeless after the monster storm destroyed their homes. Currently, home insurance is not mandatory in The Bahamas. In February 2020, an executive of Bahamas First in an interview spoke of the importance of all homeowners having full catastrophic insurance coverage.

It is important to note that while some homeowners have insurance on their homes due to it being a requirement for receiving mortgage loans from banks, it does not necessarily protect you as a homeowner. (The Nassau Guardian). A news report in January 2020 stated that after Hurricane Dorian, many homeowners were unable to receive their insurance payouts due to the money going to banks for loan arrears. In this report, Gowon Bowe, a former chairman of the Bahamas Institute of Chartered Accountants, noted that it is important for one to be paying on their mortgage in order to avoid the bank becoming the owner of the property and receiving the payout from the insurance.

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Picture of destruction caused by Hurricane Dorian.

Is your home fully covered?

This article seeks to inform you of various insurance policies and clauses to assist you in ensuring that your house and possessions are adequately protected.


Homeowners’ insurance

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Homeowners’ insurance covers the physical structure of the home itself as well as fixtures such as wardrobes (closets), bathtubs and fixed cupboards. Standard insurance policies cover your home against events such as fires, theft and falling trees (Insurance Management Bahamas). Including hurricane protection in your insurance policy is optional and will be at an additional cost. Most homeowners do not have hurricane coverage in their standard homeowners’ insurance policy. As a result, homeowners would not be protected if a hurricane leaves substantial damage to their home.

Comprehensive Insurance

CBMA Bahamas stated that comprehensive insurance includes catastrophe insurance which covers events such as hurricanes, tornadoes, floods, etc. While including catastrophe coverage in your insurance policy may be at a more expensive cost, living in a country prone to natural disasters, it is imperative to ensure that your home is protected against hurricanes. Charles Morris from CBMA Bahamas explained, “If your home is insured for a particular disaster, for example a fire and your home gets destroyed by a hurricane, you will not receive the insurance payout due to you not insuring for the type of catastrophe that occurred.”

Landlords

A landlord usually has homeowners’ insurance which protects the property itself. However, Mr. Morris from CBMA Bahamas suggested that landlords include in their insurance policy a clause that states that if something happens to the building, the insurance will cover the rent, i.e whatever the renters were paying the landlord as rent, the landlord will still receive that payment from their insurer for a specified period of time.

Important Insurance Clauses 

Under-insurance condition, also known as Condition of Average: Insurance Management Bahamas stated that if the sum insured is inadequate, you will be unable to recover the full amount of your claim. Only the percentage that you have insured will be recoverable. If your home is worth $100,000 but you only insured it for $50,000, in the event something happens to your home you will not be entitled to the $100,000 your home is worth because it was under insured. There may also be penalties if your property is under-insured (JS Johnson).

Deductibles: If you are entitled to receive an insurance payout, any money you receive may be subject to a deductible. Deductibles apply to most losses that may be recoverable through insurance (Insurance Management). The amount that will be deducted will differ depending on your insurance provider and the reason for the loss. There are various deductible options to choose from when getting an insurance policy. For example, if your insurance policy includes a 15% deductible, this will result in a lower premium that you would be required to pay but note that any payout you receive will be reduced by 15%. However, most people keep a standard contract with a 2% deductible so that they do not have a large deduction from their insurance payout. (CBMA Bahamas)

Content Insurance

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An important point to note is that home insurance does not protect the contents in the home. As such, in order to protect your contents, content insurance is required. Items that can be covered are furniture and appliances (Geico). Content insurance covers the items that are in the house, excluding things like vehicles, pets and money (Insurance Management Bahamas). Contents are protected from damage caused by events such as fire, theft or hurricane.

It is advised that you consider getting an appraisal of your contents to ensure that you receive equal value to replace the contents if they are destroyed by an event such as a hurricane. However, note that items such as furniture and appliances may depreciate yearly.

Renters

Content insurance is also important if you are renting. If you are currently residing in a rented property, it is important for you to know that your landlord’s insurance does not cover your possessions. Your landlord’s insurance will only cover the property itself but not the chattel inside the property.

It should be noted that some items are considered to be high risk items such as laptops and televisions (Insurance Management). Depending on the insurance provider you choose, special arrangements may need to be made if the cost of the high risk items are above a certain percent of the insurance sum.

Personal Possession Insurance

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Items such as jewellery may not be covered by content insurance (Geico). This is where personal possession insurance comes in. This type of insurance covers items that are valuable to you such as clothes, cellphones, jewellery etc.


Hurricane Insurance Tips

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In preparing for hurricanes, JS Johnson suggests:

  1. Locate your insurance policy.
  2. Review your insurance coverage.
  3. Ensure you have hurricane protection.
  4. Find out what the deductible is for hurricanes.
  5. Ensure that your contents are insured.

To read up on more hurricane preparedness tips, click here.

For a more detailed guidance regarding home insurance, click here.

Insurance policies are renewed every year so ensure that you are renewing your insurance and consistently paying on your insurance and mortgage so that in the event that a hurricane destroys your home, you can benefit from the insurance payout.

We hope this article was informative in assisting you to ensure that your house and possessions are adequately protected as we deal with another hurricane season.

As you prepare for the hurricane season, check out Putting Together the Perfect Hurricane Preparedness Kit

We pray that you and your family remain safe during Hurricane Isaias and for the remainder of the hurricane season.

Did you find this article helpful?

Let us know in the comments!

Categories
Hurricane Preparation

Putting Together the Perfect Hurricane Preparedness Kit

Although June 1 marks the official start of the Atlantic hurricane season, already we’ve had a named tropical storm hovering over the ocean, marking the sixth straight year that a named storm has developed prior to June 1.

Forecasters predict at least four major hurricanes for the 2020 season, and we all know that it only takes one hurricane to disrupt daily life and potentially impact livelihoods and whole economies. Last year, in the Bahamas, Hurricane Dorian decimated parts of Abaco and Grand Bahama and left at least 60 persons dead. Videos of the terror from the winds and water spread across social media prompting many to change their view of hurricanes forever! Those who may have shrugged off hurricanes in the past now see emergency preparedness kits as mandatory and not optional.

A emergency (or disaster) preparedness kit is a collection of basic items your household may need in the event of an emergency. The supplies should be able to last for at least 72 hours or 3 days.

The infographic below details the items recommended by the Bahamas National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) for an emergency preparedness kit.

Additional Recommendations

We have curated a list of additional items below that we feel would be useful to include in your hurricane preparedness kit.

Water Filtration Bottle

Removes up to 99.99% of pollutants and contaminants found in drinking water sources.

Waterproof Bag

Secure your belongings with a waterproof bag.

Fuel Container

5 gallon fuel container.

Life Vest

One life vest or life jacket per person.

Two Burner Stove

Two burner propane gas stove.

Solar Fan

Solar fan and LED light.

Waterproof Pouch

Keep your valuables safe and dry up to 32 Feet.

Mosquito Repellent Wipes

Protects against mosquitos and ticks.

Hurricanes and other natural disasters are a part of life, planning and preparing for them should be as well. Subscribe to our blog for more articles in our Hurricane Series.

Did we miss anything in our kit? Let us know in the comments below.

Useful Links

Note: None of the links are sponsored.