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Local Bahamian Struggles To Find Family Back Home After Hurricane Dorian

Reginald Jones
Sarafina Wright
Reginald Jones and his wife Melody--her brother and 17 of her cousins were killed in the storm

While the North and South Carolina coasts are just now feeling the effects of Hurricane Dorian, residents of the Bahamas are sifting through rubble the storm left behind. Dorian was a category 5 storm when it hit the Bahamas on Sunday, with most of the damage done to the Bahamian islands of Grand Bahama and Abaco, where the storm stalled for almost two days. At least 23 people have died.

Reginald Jones of Charlotte is from the Bahamian islands of San Salvador and Freeport. He now runs a testing company here, but much of his time Thursday was spent trying to get ahold of family in the Bahamas.

Reginald Jones: Parents, my brother, my baby daughter. Actually she is also there. She and her husband, which also was one of the most concerning things.

Gwendolyn Glenn: Have you been able to talk to them since Dorian came and practically set over Grand Bahama in Freeport?

Jones: When it was approaching Freeport, I spoke with them. But then we lost all communications for the next two and a half days. I finally was able to reach them like sporadically in and out.

Glenn: Who did you reach?

Jones: My brother George. He was kind of in shock and awe basically, because nothing really mattered to them at that point. They were just happy to be alive. They just couldn't believe the devastation. They were just trying to get their bearings again.

Glenn: Did you reach your daughter and her family and your parents?

Jones: Oh yes. I was able to get ahold of my daughter. Actually what happened is my brother, he had to go to where she was because she was actually staying home. But it began to get so worse they had to literally evacuate the home they were in in waist deep water and then I lost communication with her. From then until after the storm passed.

Glenn: Where did she go?

Jones: She went with her husband for a more higher ground.

Glenn: Are their homes still standing, or you don't know?

Jones: One that she was in, she lost like half of it. The back part of the duplex that she lives in. The majority of the homes from the people around them are gone.

Glenn: Did they say whether or not supplies are getting in because you have so many people who are preparing food and are they able to get in and get supplies in and get people out who need help?

Jones: That's one of the most difficult parts right now because the main thing is they’re trying to get the port of entries open which is the harbor and also the airport. There's so much debris that's still on the airport and everything so they have to be so careful of getting back into there. Bahamians that might have been in the Florida area -they're using their boats like they're fishing boats and stuff to take supplies over.

Glenn: Did you have any relatives in Abaco that got hit really hard?

Jones: One of my relatives, actually Kingsley. He lives in Freeport but he has more direct family there. I also have an uncle, he lives in Nassau but his son is in Abaco. Up to this morning they were still trying to get some information because they still can't reach a lot of people. So he was one of them who they haven't been able to locate as yet. Everyone is just trying to keep hope which is the best you can do right now and just keep praying. We'll get through it though I guarantee you we'll get through it.

Glenn: And seeing the pictures it looks like just splinters everywhere where homes used to be. What's going through your mind how are you feeling when you see those?

Jones: It's so unbelievable that I'm still trying to figure out is it real. Seeing the pictures coming from there and literally looking at the level of water 10 feet inside the house.

Glenn: Do you have any plans to go over anytime soon?

Jones: Definitely. I plan to take a trip up there, me and my family. I have to go down to see it for myself. I also need to go there just to give my support and see what we can do to assist and help because here you feel so helpless. The thing about it is just watching the videos coming through where you see the guys are helping to rescue on jet skis and all these various things. I know all of them. I'm literally seeing them and know them.

Glenn: Well, I wish you the best and your family the best and that they're all going to be okay and that you'll be able to reach them.

Jones: All right, I thank you so much for your support. It's been amazing for the support I’ve been seeing coming in. And it's a good thing to know that people care. The only thing we can say is, thanks. And continue to pray for us.