Abaco taxi driver does not want to leave home

Abaco taxi driver does not want to leave home

Dale Mills, 60, has been separated from his wife and daughter for nearly a month

SPRING CITY, ABACO — Dale Mills, 60, said he does not want to leave his home in Spring City for fear looters will take advantage of the unprotected dwelling.

Speaking to Eyewitness News yesterday, Mills said he has invested too much in the home to take that chance.

“What now? No. You can’t leave because people will go in your house and take from it and we have too much stuff invested in the house,” said the long-time taxi driver.

Iram Lewis, who was sworn in as the minister of state for disaster preparedness, recovery and restoration yesterday announced that people who remain on the island — three weeks after Hurricane Dorian leveled communities and displaced thousands — may have to relocate for a short time.

It remains unclear how many people remain in Abaco.

It also is unknown where remaining residents would relocate to and which areas would need to be cleared temporarily.

Portions of the islands appear worn-torn. The smell of the decay lingers in the air.

Metal panels, scrap, car parts, and other debris line the streets. Some of it clings to trees like Christmas ornaments. Miles of trees and electrical poles, stretching from the Marsh Harbour International Airport to the settlement, have been snapped, resembling broken toothpicks.

According to Mills, the greatest need on the island at this time is running water.

He said, “Marsh Harbour is going to be a while. If they are going to redesign it, redesign it right. Let people from Abaco assist in redesigning it, but as far as we are concerned, we need that water on now.”

With limited access to water, Mills said a neighbor, who has a water well turns on his generator periodically to allow residents in the immediate area to access it.

The collected water is used sparingly for washing clothes and dishes, bathing and flushing the toilet, he said.

“You have to take a little cowboy,” said Mills, referring to a simple showering method of applying soap and rinsing off with a bucket. “You take some soap and dash the water over your head; that’s the best we can do right now.

“They’re saying now they might have our water on by the end of the month. That might seem right around the corner, but we need that water right now — if only for flushing and taking a shower. They said they are going to check to make sure it does not affect our bodies. I guess we will have to wait until then, but we need that water.”

“… There is nowhere you can buy anything unless you go to Sandy Point.

Alone

Mills has been separated from his wife and daughter for almost a month.

They travelled to Jamaica ahead of the storm for vacation and have since extended their stay on the neighboring island.

Mills rode out the storm, which lashed the island with over 185 mile-per-hour winds and 23 sea surges alone. He remains alone in his home.

“[I am there by myself] for now,” he said. “I went through the storm by myself. That was not a regular hurricane. That was a hurricane with other things in it. It was terrifying.”

While he has not been able to make a living since the passage of the record storm, Mills said he has taken a couple of taxi fares in the last few weeks for people who wanted to view parts of the islands destroyed.

“I got a few bucks, but nothing much,” he said with a shrug.

He said he hopes the government moves as quickly as possible to rebuild and restore commerce to the island, and implored the Minnis administration “to get work going on in Abaco”.

Asked whether he was concerned about safety and security on the island, Mills said he was well known.

At last report 900 police and defence force officers were on the island and Grand Bahama in the aftermath of the storm to return security and stability amid mass reports of looting.

The Jamaican and Bahamians flags waved above a line of barrack tents near the Marsh Harbour International Airport, the temporary home of 120 officers from the Jamaican Defence Force