Hurricane Dorian survivors still face uncertain future
“I don’t wanna hear about more storms,” Sitha Silien said from Abaco Island.
“Like seriously? I have to go back to this? No, I don’t wanna hear nothing, even rain,” she said.
Her home, along with almost everything else in the mostly-Haitian shantytown called “The Mudd,” is gone.
Humberto resurfaced feelings of terror for Dorian survivors — just two weeks after the Category 5 storm decimated much of Grand Bahamas and Abaco Islands.
Everyday sounds of Nassau trigger terrifying memories for Silien, even the sounds of an airplane are too much for her.
“I jumped up, I thought it was a storm outside. When I come to the door, it was nothing and the officer was like, ‘What happened?'” Silien recalled of the her shock. “I asked … if it was another hurricane and he said no and he said ‘that’s the airplane!,’ – I said Jesus Christ!”
As she waits to transfer to her third shelter in ten days, her only focus is finding and burying the bodies of her mother and brother who both died in her arms during the storm.
“I lift my brother … lift him, literally lift him with my hands and the other friends bring him by the road,” she said. “They found some bodies, they didn’t find some bodies … but I know my mommy and my brother were there.”
The official death toll for The Bahamas remains at 50 since it was announced nearly a week ago but officials have cautioned the number is likely to increase dramatically as more people are identified.
Silien says she told the government about her mother, brother, and a cousin who all died during the storm.
Haitians concerned about their safety following storm
Although Silien says she’s grateful for how she’s been treated in the shelters, she does not want to stay in Nassau.
She and other evacuees of Haitian descent have described the area as unwelcoming after a round of posts on Whatsapp singled out the community following the storm.
Odiles and Agnes Pierre escaped from Abaco with their four children and are now staying with a friend of his boss as they wait to get out of Nassau.
“We don’t want to live in Nassau, because few people said that, in videos and other, we should kill all Haitians because they caused the hurricane that destroyed Abaco,” Agnes Pierre said.
Some of the messages cheered the destruction of primarily Haitian communities like the Mudd and made death threats and claims that the hurricane was a punishment for a belief in voodoo.
“I don’t want to get killed. I been through so much, we survived from it now … I don’t want to come here and just die,” the mother said.
When speaking to CNN, many local Bahamians repeatedly referred to the Haitians as “illegal,” explaining there are deep-seated tensions between the groups.
But government officials have said repeatedly that all Dorian victims will be treated equally when it comes to disaster relief.
The Pierre family doesn’t trust that promise and wants to get their kids out of The Bahamas.
“I would like for us to get to the states, until the island comes back, so at least my kids can go to school and feel comfortable,” Odiles Pierre said.
However, the chance of getting a U.S. visa quickly are slim as they lost important documents during the storm that also left them without jobs.
CNN’s Hollie Silverman contributed to this report.