CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCSC) - A Charleston man whose organization is working to support victims in areas devastated by Hurricane Dorian say it has not been easy getting resources to those in need.
Captain Jamie Hough talked over Facetime from the Bahamas, ground zero for Hurricane Dorian’s wrath.
“It’s like a war zone trees are twisted every which a way," he said. "It’s just like Hugo. One house is spared and another house is absolutely missing, just gone. I shed some tears when I got here. It’s awful.”
His organization, Southeast Rescue and Relief, is trying to help feed those in the Bahamas who no longer have homes.
“Logistically it’s been a nightmare to try to get stuff over here to the Bahamas," Hough said. "Every time you turn around there’s a boat getting turned around or plane numbers getting declined. We just try to help them the way we’d want people to help us if we were in their situation.”
The Charleston native has seen his fair share of devastating storms and he says he couldn’t sit back and watch as people in the Bahamas struggle.
“The US population is trying desperately to try to help these people and the Bahamian govenrment is not letting us help as much as we can," he said. "What we need now is some semblance of normality for these folks we need to get this place cleaned up and we can’t do that without the money to pay for garbage barges and shredders and chippers.”
While food and water are needed, Hough says they are running out of secure dry places to store such goods, and that there are bigger concerns about the safety of those who remain.
“What they need most is protection. They need solar lights to put on top of telephone poles so it’s illuminated so these people can be safe at night," he said. “They need some giant wood chippers. We have to start doing something with this debris because there’s nowhere to put it. We are running out of storage as food and dry goods go. It’s not that there’s a lot of stuff or donations, but there’s just nowhere to put it.”
His biggest message to people who want to help is that unless you can be 100 percent self-sufficient, don’t travel to the Bahamas.
A Charleston County representative is working to organize a humanitarian effort to bring support and needed supplies to islands in the Bahamas devastated by Hurricane Dorian.
Rep. Wendell Gilliard, who represents District 111 in Charleston, is leading the call to action and requested the use of one of Joint Base Charleston’s C-17 Globemaster cargo planes to deliver food, water and other supplies. Gilliard says he has been in contact with Gov. Henry McMaster and First District Rep. Joe Cunningham to help him organize the effort.
He says he has seen a community reaction to the damage left behind by Dorian and he felt a calling to use his position and connections to help organize a significant aid package for the islands.
He believes Charleston’s experience with Hurricane Hugo almost 30 years ago is one reasons so many people are looking for ways to help.
“We want to show the people in that area that has been impacted, those areas, that we care because we’ve had our trials and tribulations and we’ve just recently had our blessings somewhat with this recent storm Dorian," Gilliard said. "So this is what the effort is all about. They always have a heart for caring and wanting to do what’s right and hopefully this is a way to involve everybody.”
Gilliard plans to set up a collection area so community members can donate supplies but those details have not yet been finalized. He is also working on a back-up plan to have the supplies shipped through a cargo company if his request to use the C-17 is not granted.