NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — In the Bahamas, the official death toll from Hurricane Dorian is 45, but that number is expected to skyrocket with thousands of people still reported missing.
CBS2’s Ali Bauman spoke with Natandra Lewis, a 21-year-old single mother who lived through the storm. Her brother has been staying in New York City for the past two weeks. He just missed the hurricane, but he said he wanted to show us what his family is going through in their hometown of Freeport.
“Water was coming in like a river,” Lewis said. “We’re trying to call the emergency lines, no one is answering.”
Lewis was holding her 1-month-old son in her parents’ house on Grand Bahama Island when Hurricane Dorian came in unlike anything she’d ever seen.
“First, my mother was like, ‘Let’s go to the attic,’ but then it was like if we get trapped there? We don’t know how high this water may come. No doors was opening,” Lewis said.
Water rising by the minute around them, her father squeezed through the kitchen window to search for help.
“He saw the ambulance through the corner, so two rescue guys came and broke open our window. We went outside. The water was as high as my chest. I had to hold the baby to my neck,” Lewis said. “When we were in that water and it was five feet, I was scared then .”
The family stayed in a shelter for three days.
“It’s supposed to be a shelter, but there wasn’t even no water there,” Lewis said.
Lewis says when they returned home, “everything was lost.”
“Everything was washed up,” she said. “Power’s off, water is off. You can’t, say, go back to work and make the money back because everything is off.”
“Nobody really knows what’s going on. Nobody really knows who’s in charge. Nobody really knows where to get help,” Nathaniel Lewis said.
Natandra’s brother came to New York on a business trip days before Dorian hit.
“There’s total chaos. There’s a humanitarian crisis. People are suffering. Most importantly, there’s a leadership crisis that’s going on in the commonwealth of the Bahamas,” Nathaniel said.
Bahamian officials estimate 70,000 people lost their homes in the storm. Natandra’s parents are still trying to salvage what they can while she and her baby joined the more than 3,000 people now evacuating the rubble.
“We couldn’t eat. There wasn’t nothing to eat. We barely got water, so making sure he’s alive and happy, that’s all I could do,” Natandra said.
Thousands of people are still trying to escape the devastated areas of the Bahamas. Local authorities say the total number of missing people may be unknown for weeks.