'Only animals can live here': Storm victims await evacuation

ABACO, BAHAMAS: Carrying their meager possessions in duffel bags and shopping carts, hundreds of desperate storm victims gathered at the port in Grand Abaco on Friday in hopes of getting off the hurricane-devastated island, amid signs of rising frustration over the pace of the disaster-relief effort.

"It's chaos here," said Gee Rolle, a 44-year-old construction worker who waited with his wife for a boat that could take them to the capital, Nassau. "The government is trying their best, but at the same time, I don't think they're doing a good enough job to evacuate the people. It ain't livable for nobody. Only animals can live here."

Minnis said he was satisfied with the speed of the government's response and told the storm victims, "All I need you to do is just be patient and wait because everybody is coming."

Officials said all ports had reopened.

An international company that owns an oil terminal on Grand Bahama said damage by the storm had resulted in a significant oil spill on the surrounding ground but added that so far there was no sign of leakage into the sea. The company, Equinor, which is majority-owned by Norway's government, said it had not yet determined how much oil had leaked from the tanks, which can hold 6.75 million gallons of crude oil and condensate.

An array of organizations, countries and companies — including the United Nations, the US government, the British Royal Navy, American Airlines and Royal Caribbean — have mobilized to send in food, water, generators, roof tarps, diapers, flashlights and other supplies.

The US Coast Guard said it had rescued 239 people in the Bahamas and was still conducting search missions.

On hard-hit Grand Bahama Island, a long line formed at a cruise ship that had docked to distribute food and water. Among those waiting was Wellisy Taylor, a 65-year-old housewife.

"What we have to do as Bahamians, we have to band together. If your brother needs sugar, you're going to have to give him sugar. If you need cream, they'll have to give you cream," she said. "That's how I grew up. That's the Bahamas that I know."

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