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ABACO HONOR ROLL/Broward
... and countless other businesses, orgainizations and residents of Broward, Dade and Palm Beach counties.
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WFTV-4 Orlando Eyewitness News -- "On September 15 of this year, the eye of Hurricane Floyd passed directly over the Abaco Islands of the Bahamas. Recorded wind gusts of 230 miles per hour combined with storm surges of 20 feet and ocean waves in excess of 40 feet have left these islands decimated and thousands of the islanders homeless."
No matter how you look at it, Floyd was and is a major catastrophe for the people of the Abacos. As is unfortunately the case, those who could least afford to lose anything were the biggest losers. 75 of the homes on Mores Island uninhabitable ... Sandy Point covered with water to a depth of at least five feet ... Fox Town and northern areas exposed to a 20++ foot storm surge (with 20-30 foot waves reportedly towering above the surge!!) ... desperately needed Abaco schools and libraries partially or totally wiped out (the Bahamian educational system produces high school graduates with a 95 literacy rate ... about 28 higher than the U.S.!!) ... almost total disruption of the Abacos' social and physical infrastructure (phone, electric, water, roads, etc.). It's a pretty grim picture.
On a much more positive note, within a few hours of Floyd's exit from the Abacos, the personal and material rebuilding and relief efforts (the VAST majority from outside the Bahamas) began. Emergency relief materials, food and water started pouring in and, most important, actually getting to the folks in the "need it most" areas.
In addition to more than 800,000++ pounds of Broward-generated rebuilding and relief supplies that have been shipped as of 10/14/99 (via Broward County's G&G shipping) to the Abacos, 1000's of kind and concerned folks from elsewhere in Florida and all over the US, Canada and Europe opened their checkbooks (go-abacos visitors alone donated upwards of $4000!), rented supply delivery trucks, broke their piggy banks, held fund raisers as far away as Virginia and as close as Ft. Lauderdale's Stiles Corporation, and, in general, have been incredibly human ... an extraordinarily welcome change from the constantly "in your face" INHUMANITY of seemingly omnipresent death, dismemberment, destruction, decivilization and drugs which saturate our "civilized" media and creep ever closer to our doors.
Yes, it's gradually getting better in the Abacos. And when the rebuilding is complete, it will be a WHOLE LOT better in the Abacos! But a lot of time that will pass, a lot of backs will be sore, a lot of hands will be calloused ... and a lot of new friendships will be made before the Abacos are restored and "right" once again. While the majority of Abacos resorts and tourism-related businesses will reopen in time for "The Millennium", a large part of the insurance-covered Abacos' RESIDENT population will have a less-than-festive New Year's celebration unless we continue to help.
With our continuing assistance, the Abacos WILL ultimately be a whole lot better, a whole lot sooner than most of the U.S. areas which were impacted by Floyd's unwelcome and unruly cousin, hurricane Andrew.
With a little bit of help from their friends, the good, kind, hard-working, "can do" people of the Abacos won't let the destruction and devastation surrounding them (and their neighbors) deter them from putting their islands back together in record time.
I guess this
is just one more reason why we choose to escape from our "civilization"
to travel to the honest civilization of the Abacos. I might be
wrong about this ... but I kinda doubt it.