Rev. Kirkland Russel, an Anglican priest from Grand Bahama, spoke with the World Council of Churches (WCC) on 2 September as slow-moving Hurricane Dorian lingered over the island, bringing a threatening storm surge and trauma to many people.
Grand Bahama is the northernmost island of the Bahamas archipelago in the Atlantic Ocean.
Russel’s community has no electricity, and the water has been turned off while the storm rages. He asked for prayers and support from the WCC fellowship and all people of good will.
“We are getting a lot of rain and driving wind,” said Russel, who oversees the St Stephens Anglican Church in Grand Bahama, “but the main problem we are having right now is the storm surge coming from the north, and a lot of people’s homes are getting flooded out. They are trapped on their roofs, or scrambling out of their homes trying to find shelter.”
Rev. Kirkland Russel, an Anglican priest from Grand Bahama providing the update on the hurricane to the local TV station. Image: ZNS TV
The storm surge was estimated at anywhere from 15-23 feet. “Most hurricanes, when they pass through, move at 10 -13 mph. This hurricane has been doing 1 mph for almost 24 hours,” explained Russel. “We always could use your prayers and your support.”
The priest said he believed people will have lingering trauma after the storm passes. “A lot of people will need counseling, and will need just to speak to somebody who knows what’s going on.”
Russel said there will be physical needs as well, since roads have been compromised. News reports indicated at least five people were dead.
Some church halls are serving as shelters, added Russel. “I appreciate your concern and just ask that you continue to keep us in your prayers. We are going through a lot right now.”