Eyewitness account from Hurricane-hit Bahamas

"Schools and hospitals flattened; houses and roads collapsed; cars and boats hanging in trees"

07 September 2019
© UNICEF/UN0341853/Moreno Gonzalez
UNICEF/UN0341853/Moreno Gonzalez
On 6 September 2019, Benson Etienne, 15, rides his bicycle around the hurricane-hit Marsh Harbour, in Abaco Island. He was with his family in a two-story building when Hurricane Dorian slammed Abaco Island for 40 hours. The roof was the first thing to disappear, leaving the family of 8 out in the open with strong winds and rain. Then the windows broke. Before the walls collapsed they managed to get out: "We had to swim for our lives in dirty water, fighting against strong currents. Now everything is destroyed, every school. There is no water to drink."

Download photos and videos, here.


NASSAU/PANAMA/ NEW YORK, 6 September 2019 – Earlier today, UNICEF was able to access Abaco, the area of the Bahamas most affected by Hurricane Dorian three days ago. In and around Marsh Harbour on Abaco Island, our team witnessed widespread devastation and destruction. Schools and hospitals are flattened; houses and roads have collapsed; cars and boats are hanging in trees.

Children and their families who survived the hurricane have lost their homes, their relatives, their livelihoods and have been left with little water and food. The clock is ticking for them to receive lifesaving assistance. More than three days after the hurricane struck, families urgently need safe drinking water. Across the Bahamas, over 18,000 children are estimated to have been exposed to the impact of the hurricane.

Infrastructure in some parts of Abaco has been severely damaged or destroyed, which presents serious logistical challenges and hampers humanitarian access. In support of the Government and UN partner agencies, UNICEF is working around the clock to start the distribution of lifesaving supplies to families in need.

The first shipment of UNICEF water and sanitation supplies, including water purification tablets for about 9,500 people, is expected to reach the Bahamas on Sept 8. UNICEF is urgently seeking US$ 4 million to scale up its emergency response to Hurricane Dorian in the Bahamas.

Media contacts

Laurent Duvillier
Regional Chief of Communication
UNICEF Latin America and Caribbean
Tel: + 507 3017393
Tel: + 507 6169 9886

Multimedia content

Eyewitness account from Hurricane-hit Bahamas.

UNICEF promotes the rights and wellbeing of every child, in everything we do. Together with our partners, we work in 190 countries and territories to translate that commitment into practical action, focusing special effort on reaching the most vulnerable and excluded children, to the benefit of all children, everywhere.

For more information about UNICEF and its work for children, visit www.unicef.org/lac.

Follow UNICEF on Twitter and Facebook