Families form support networks in US while awaiting word from Bahamas

The search for survivors of Hurricane Dorian on the Bahamian island of Abaco extends to homes the Bay Area.

A family in Manatee County says it’s been a long week for them already as they wait for word from their loved ones. They've been able to make some contact with their friends and families, but communication has been limited.

Daphney Towns' home has turned into a point of contact for Bahamians. Families gathered at her place to pray and to spread the word when someone made contact.

“I think the whole Bahamian community here was awake. We had round the clock prayer meeting going on,” Towns said. “We’ve heard from some family members, so we are taking them off the list."

As Hurricane Dorian hit, they started making a list of family and friends in the Bahamas so they could pass the information along to search and rescue teams. Meanwhile, social media and messaging apps have proved to be the most useful for getting in touch.

“WhatsApp has been the only way we can communicate and get through to the people of the Bahamas,” John Munroe said. “Once they get the message they disperse it through WhatsApp or Facebook.”

Everyone at her home has family spread throughout the islands. They all have heard from some of their loved ones, mostly through WhatsApp.

Vincanna Godet was still waiting for news from her nephew, a constable with the Bahamas Air-Sea Rescue Association in the Abaco Islands.

“I’m on the chat constantly,” she said. “I’m getting anxiety attacks. I’m trying to be positive and put together lists of what they need.”

While some news is grim, she receives hope from other videos showing people being rescued.

Vincanna 22:58:18-“They’re both sending me texts and pictures and telling me who they found, who they have not found and who they are looking for.”

Videos of the damage is hard to watch from afar so now they're focusing on gathering supplies to bring to their families.

Many of the families are working with Oak Tree Community Outreach is a non-profit working with many of these families.

They're working to secure a pilot so they can take the supplies they have gathered to the Bahamas.

For more information or to donate, contact Oak Tree Community Outreach, Inc., 1011 8th Ave East Bradenton, FL, 34208, email barnesdaphney@yahoo.com, call 941-807-5013, or visit https://www.facebook.com/pg/RestoringtheIslands/community/.