Savannah State University has international students from all the parts of the world, including the Bahamas. Those students are working hard to help families and friends in the archipelago, which was destroyed by Hurricane Dorian as a Category 5 storm when it hit the area.
The International Student Association at Savannah State is keeping in contact with the students and their families to check how is the situation to them. By Sunday, most were able to contact their families.
Shirne’al Handfield is a senior accounting student from Freeport, Grand Bahama, which was one of the areas hit by the hurricane. Her parents and friends are safe, she said. They kept in touch until their cell phone batteries died.
She said she had been through other hurricanes including Frances, Jeanne and Matthew, “All of those hurricanes left the island without water and electricity. It took about 1-2 weeks for the water to be restored in certain areas. Electricity took approximately 6-10 weeks to be restored on the island.”
Hurricane Dorian landed in the Bahamas on Sept. 1 and devastated the country during the two days it crawled over the islands.
According to Prime Minister Hubert Minnis, at least 20 people have been found dead, and more are expected.
“During the hurricane, communication [is] lost so you begin to worry about your family," Handfield said. "Also the news and social media makes it worst because you hear about all the horrible things going on and you don’t know how is your family."
Handfield's parents are safe, but the situation is still difficult, “Returning to your home after being evacuated is very depressing. There will be a lot of work to get back your house in good shape. Sometimes others may not have a home to return to due the major damage."
“See[ing] everything from afar, it was the worst feeling in the world because you already know the damage a hurricane can do. Being away from your family during the semester is hard and it even harder during hurricane season.” Handfield said.
Joline Keevy, assistant director of the International Education Center said the ISA will try to help, if possible.
“I hope that we can work on some campus wide initiatives next week to help fund raise,” she said.
For those who want to help Bahamas, embassies and consulates are being used as safe places to send donations. In Georgia, this is located in Atlanta, Bahamas Consulate General, 2970 Clairmont Road NE, Suite 290, 404-214-0492.