As the search continues for victims and survivors in the Bahamas, people in Central Florida are trying to stay positive and hoping their friends and family are safe.
Connecting with those in the Bahamas has been difficult with limited access to Wi-Fi or cell service after Hurricane Dorian destroyed parts of the northern islands.
Jonathan Burrows, a native Bahamian living in Central Florida, said he's devastated and it hurts knowing that lives were lost, homes were destroyed and many families have been torn apart in his home country.
"I’ve had sleepless nights for the past five to six days," Burrows said.
He’s heading to the Bahamas next week to assist with search and relief efforts.
"Right now we’re still waiting to hear back from my cousin Nigel and his son. Both of them, the last time anybody spoke with them, was before the storm and today we haven’t heard anything," said Burrows.
The American Red Cross in Central Florida is referring people to the Bahamas Red Cross to assist with tracking down family members.
"If you’re looking for a U.S. Citizen in the Bahamas, contact the State Department at 1-888-407-4747. If you’re looking for a Bahamian, you can contact their local Red Cross at BahamasRedCross.org," said Rebecca DeLorenzo, from the American Red Cross.
A spokesperson for the American Red Cross in Central Florida said they are focused now on relief efforts in the Carolinas ahead of Hurricane Dorian. They said the National Red Cross is partnering with the Bahamas Red Cross to assist with efforts there.
Burrows and others in Central Florida are working get results and help those in need.
"I want to help my fellow Bahamians who have lost homes, they’ve lost everything. This is so heartbreaking," said Cora Johnson.
Johnson, a realtor based in Orlando, also has family members in the Bahamas, some of whom are still missing. She is collecting food, water and nonperishable items to ship over to the islands.
Johnson is collecting donated supplies at her office, G World Properties at 7682 Dr. Phillips Blvd. Suite B. Her office is partnering with the South Orlando YMCA, where people can drop off supplies at 814 W. Oak Ridge Road.
Anyone who would like to assist or donate to Central Florida organizations sending relief to the Bahamas can click here.
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