William and Kate visit the Bahamas island to learn about hurricane recovery

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge visited a church on the Abaco Islands in the Bahamas to hear how communities are recovering after a devastating hurricane.

The couple flew in from Nassau and spoke to locals about the damage caused by Hurricane Dorian in September 2019 before attending a traditional “Fish Fry.”

William and Kate arrived at the Daystar Evangelical Church to hear what it was like to be on the island when the hurricane hit, and how locals have since come together to support each other.

Benson Etienne cycling around hurricane-hit Marsh Harbor on Abaco Island in the Bahamas (Manuel Moreno Gonzalez/UNICEF)

They were greeted by Rev. Silbert Mills, who explained that one of the church’s three buildings was “completely destroyed, stripped from its foundation”.

The Duke asked which direction the hurricane was coming from before entering the damaged building to assess the damage.

The Duchess, wearing a pink Rixo dress, said: “The church is at the heart of the community when events like this happen.”

As they were told of the devastation caused, the Duke said: “You must have been terrified.”

The pastor, who has worked at the church for seven years, told the couple that the UK Met Office was the most accurate source for tracking the storms.

Hurricane Dorian
RFA Mounts Bay teams delivering aid to Great Abaco Island in the Bahamas (LPhot Paul Halliwell/MoD/Crown Copyright)

The couple then sat in the main body of the church to hear local residents explain how they had been affected.

It is estimated that more than 2,000 people lost their lives in the hurricane, including 200 on Abaco.

Speaking ahead of the Royal Family’s arrival, Pastor Mills pointed to where one of the church’s historic buildings once stood, explaining how it was completely destroyed.

“We had three buildings on this property that survived many, many hurricanes dating back to Hurricane Betsy in 1965, Hurricane Floyd in 1999,” he said before the royals arrived. did he declare.

“But the facility was no match for Hurricane Dorian. It was a monster Category 5 storm that had waves crashing on the roof of this building. on the ceiling here.

“It took everything away and it destroyed so much of the history that was here. The building that was here was built in 1952. It was a wooden building that was built out of Abaco pine, and we kept it here and there. remodeled to retain its historic values, but Dorian swept it from its foundations.

Residents were locked down for months, he said, and NGOs were unable to enter because of the floods and then the pandemic, significantly delaying recovery efforts.

Pastor Mills said some members of the community were still displaced, two and a half years later.

About Marco C. Nichols

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