'It's frightening': Bahamians in N.S. await news from hurricane-stricken homeland
Students raising money, gathering supplies as Emera looks to rebuild electrical systems
A group of Bahamians going to school in Nova Scotia are leaning on each other as they anxiously await news from their friends and family back home after Hurricane Dorian ripped apart sections of the country as it stalled over the region for a day and a half.
The unstable communication systems have meant Deandrea McIntosh hasn't heard from her parents since Saturday morning. They live in Abaco, which has been devastated.
"Classes start tomorrow and I'm nowhere near focused," said the Saint Mary's University student. "It is just bad scenarios going on in my mind based on the stuff that we're seeing that happen on the central part of the island."
D'Maria Fernander, whose family and friends are in Freeport, said it was scary seeing footage of the hurricane decimate the island and not being able to get in touch with loved ones.
"It's frightening, honestly. I didn't even sleep last night," said the Acadia University graduate.
Fernander was able to reach her parents on Tuesday morning and knows they are safe, but she said there are friends she hasn't been able to get in touch with.
As Nova Scotia's Bahamian community awaits news, it's already gathering clothing donations and talking to shipping companies about sending help back home.
"It's like we're not home, but our hearts are at home. We really want to be that pillar of help and strength for them," said McIntosh.
The friends plan to create a formal Facebook group recommending on-the-ground organizations who will help rebuild the country. They are also trying to arrange drop-off locations throughout Halifax Regional Municipality for people to donate hygiene products, cleaning products, water and clothes.
"There's a lot of flood damage going on right now, so people aren't going to have access to the things that they would usually have access to," said Fernander.
"And on top of that, there's going to be a bit of a cleanliness problem because there's a lot of that muddy, unclean water that's floating around."
'Nothing ever this strong'
Dalhousie University student Peri Lockhart, who is from Freeport, is helping to co-ordinate the fundraising effort.
"Everyone came together as much as possible," she said, pointing out that many local universities have students from the Bahamas.
"This is the most extreme hurricane to ever take place back home where I'm from. We have had many hurricanes in the past, but nothing this dangerous ever, like nothing ever this strong."
Local power company has N.S. connection
Nova Scotia has a number of connections to the Bahamas, including through the Grand Bahama Power Company, which is a subsidiary of Nova-Scotia based Emera.
"Our immediate focus is ensuring the safety of our employees and their families," spokesperson Jeff Myrick said in a statement.
He said the company is drawing on the expertise of its other affiliates, including Nova Scotia Power, who have prior hurricane experience.
"Restoration teams are already assembling in Florida, and together they will be preparing for mobilization to Grand Bahama as quickly and safety as possible," he wrote.