Mississippi residents with strong ties to Bahamas heartbroken after Dorian rips through islands

Mississippi residents with strong ties to Bahamas heartbroken after Dorian rips through islands

BILOXI, Miss. (WLOX) - Hurricane Dorian has caused catastrophic damage in the Bahamas.

Eight hundred miles away from the destruction, Mississippi residents Sharron Braun and Ron Werby are heartbroken as images emerge showing the destruction of a set of islands they have strong connections to.

“It’s an emotional thing, not only for myself but for our family members and our friends because we kind of feel helpless here in the states that we can’t talk to them. There’s only two satellite phones. We’re not receiving many messages, many videos. We know that they are in desperate need of food and tarps and tents and the general supplies that we needed during Katrina," Braun told WLOX.

Braun’s father visited the island of Man-O-War Cay in the 1980s. He fell in love with the small island’s beauty, and he and a friend built a vacation home there. He also assisted in building a school on the island. Werby, her father’s close friend, visits often. In fact, he was forced to cut a recent visit short due to the hurricane.

“I was afraid I would get stuck down there,” Werby said.

Both Braun and Werby are concerned for the locals who call the Bahamas home year round.

Werby says Dorian completely destroyed the ability to get basic necessities.

“The grocery store in Marsh Harbor is gone. The grocery store in Man-O-War Cay is gone. They don’t have any groceries, and there is no other place to go. The airport is flooded. It’s only 6-feet above sea level, so getting an airplane in there is impossible right now. Helicopters can go in, but how much can they bring in at one time?”

For now, the island they know and love is gone. Videos and pictures from past vacations show the beauty of the Bahamas, a stark contrast to the images coming out now.

“We went to these beautiful islands, and now we don’t know if we will be able to go back there. It will never be the same,” Braun told WLOX.

Information coming from the island is slim. Braun has only spoken to her father via third parties.

“We can’t get through. The cell tower is down. We’re only getting bits and pieces from people who have satellite phones, and there is only two of those,” she explained.

They hope help is on the way.

“We can help an awful lot, though. I mean we could send ships down there on the outside and put helicopters and bring in a lot of supplies. They need meals ready to eat, MREs right away to get food to those people,” Werby said.

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