Hurricane Dorian clean-up continues in the Bahamas

illustration by Sofia Eneqvist

Hurricane Dorian, the first major event of the 2019 Atlantic hurricane season, first developed Aug. 24 as a tropical wave in the Central Atlantic. Today, volunteers continue clean-up and recovery efforts across the Bahamas.

Dorian reached Category 5 on the Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Wind Scale on Sept. 1 when it struck the Bahamas. It is the strongest Atlantic hurricane since Wilma in 2005, and one of the most powerful storms on record to ever hit the Atlantic Ocean.

Dr. Jacob Lanphere, associate professor of environmental science, explained the long-term effects of a hurricane.

“The long-term effect of Hurricane Dorian environmentally is the disruption of the food webs and bio-diversity. Species get moved around, which introduces invasive species. Also, a general loss of older trees that produce a particular soil will be lost,” Lanphere said.

Lanphere also explained whether there is a connection between global warming and Hurricane Dorian.

“It may contribute slightly — it’s tough to say. It’s a hard button to push. Global warming is more of a political escape because global warming has always been a consistent factor in our environment and is continuously changing,” Lanphere said.

Recovery teams have made their way to the most heavily hit islands in the Bahamas. As of Sept. 20, the death toll from Dorian’s strike was 51, but this number is expected to rise. Hundreds of residents are missing and more than 70,000 are homeless. There are roughly 1,300 people missing despite the official death toll only being at 51. 

Recovery teams are still recovering bodies and reports of the number of dead have not been updated.

Lanphere said there is much Christians can contribute to aid victims of natural disasters.

“We live in a fallen world. In devastating situations like these the best thing anyone can do is work together to get through these problems. In disasters, the church really shines because the church is a unified community and is always the first group to arrive,” Lanphere said.

The storm decreased from its powerful Category 5 standing on Sept. 7 and 8. Hurricane Dorian also struck eastern Canada, causing wind damage and bringing heavy rainfall. 

“It’s a heartbreaking thing to hear about. These people were living their lives like any other day and then this terrible situation occurs,” said Jesse Breslin, junior computer science major.

Nolan Enriquez, junior commercial music major, expressed his heartache for the Bahamas.

“It’s a tough situation for any person to have to experience. My prayers go out to the Bahamas,” Enriquez said.

Hurricane Dorian is tied with the 1935 Labor Day hurricane for the highest sustained winds at landfall in an Atlantic hurricane.

 It is also the strongest Atlantic hurricane since Wilma in 2005. 

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