200 Bahamians arrive in Florida fleeing Dorian's devastation
RIVIERA BEACH, Fla. (AP) — More than 200 Bahamians whose homes were destroyed by Hurricane Dorian arrived Wednesday in Florida on a cruise ship.
It was the second mass arrival for the Bahamas Paradise Cruise Line. More than 850 Bahamian evacuees arrived Sept. 7 after the storm ravaged the islands of Grand Bahama and Abaco.
The latest wave of evacuees arrived from Freeport and waited at the Port of Palm Beach for their relatives and friends. Some described how the water quickly rushed into their homes, bringing in snakes and destroying their belongings.
"It was terrifying. We had to run out of the house. The water was reaching us to our chest," said Denise Saunders, who traveled with her 3-year-old son Trevanti.
Saunders planned to stay for a week with her sister in West Palm Beach and return to help rebuild. Others planned to find work and stay longer.
U.S. authorities have asked companies to contact Bahamian officials to screen passengers who didn't have U.S. visas but were planning to stay with family. A ferry company last week asked passengers without visas to disembark in Freeport, forcing 119 people to leave the boat.
The Grand Celebration ship also delivered food, water, supplies and construction materials. It required the Miami-bound evacuees to pay $49 per person and provide a U.S. address.