A letter from Abaco

Last year, I had the pleasure of staying at The Abaco Club. The hospitality was unending and the clear warm water and blue sky embraced me. I wrote to my friends there to ask how they are coping after Hurricane Dorian and they sent this report.

Just over a month ago, Hurricane Dorian barreled through the islands of the Abacos and Grand Bahamas as a category five storm, the worst tropical storm on record in The Bahamas. Winds upwards of 180 mph and gusts up to 200 mph ravaged the islands. Our property, The Abaco Club on Winding Bay, weathered the storm relatively well with damage that is to be expected from torrential rains and high wind, including downed trees, flooding in low-lying areas, and missing roof shingles, siding, railings, etc. Our new Yacht Club and Marina slips also made it through without incident aside from minor damage. However, the same cannot be said for other parts of the Abacos which experienced widespread and catastrophic destruction, and most sadly, loss of life. 

Joseph Deitch, Chairman of Southworth Development (the management company and owner of The Abaco Club), has matched the first $1M raised, but there’s still so much more that needs to be done. Contributions to the Fund have enabled first responders on the ground to perform search rescue services, provide food and water, assist with relocations and evacuations, and so much more. 

From the start, our priority has been the safety of our staff and their loved ones. Miraculously, all 178 of our staff members made it through this horrific storm and we have accounted for everyone. All have suffered, and most are traumatized in some form or another. We will continue to stand beside and support them throughout this recovery process and are actively providing medical assistance for those who need it. At their request, we’ve brought many of our staff members back to the island so that they can start piecing their lives back together. Others are understandably taking more time away to regroup and decide on their next steps.

Since Dorian devastated the island, we have secured a reliable fuel source that has enabled us to reach distressed individuals on the island and provide shelter and supplies. With active generators, we’ve been able to resume some Club operations, which currently include housing, feeding, and caring for staff and their families as well relief workers and volunteers, and displaced island residents seeking employment and shelter. 

We’re in the process of evaluating those staff members’ homes that suffered only limited damage and are working to secure furnished temporary housing units that will collectively provide housing assistance to approximately 100 people. We are also in the process of acquiring a mobile medical unit to bring to the island since the clinic of the island doctor, Dr. Jim Hull, was destroyed in the storm.

There is no doubt that it will be a long time before Abaco is once again the tidy island paradise it was before Dorian, but there is a strong and shared desire on everyone’s part to bring a semblance of normalcy back to life on the island, and we’re making good progress to that end. Most importantly, we’re providing much-needed shelter and assistance to many in need. We are incredibly thankful for the support we’ve been shown by friends across the globe that has helped to make that happen. 

Sincerely, 

Your Friends at The Abaco Club