‘You could see trees being flung around. Cars were moving, things were flying’
Nisha Dupuis, 19, a reporter for Radio Anguilla, carried on broadcasting on social media as Hurricane Irma blew in on Wednesday. This is her story
I was born in 1998 and have never witnessed anything of this magnitude. I was in the studio when the winds started increasing around 1am, but it really started picking up drastically about 2am.
By 4am the winds were so strong that the shutters were completely blown away. The men who were in the studio had to hold up a board in front of the window so that the pressure in the room would not get to the point where the window would explode. All the while we had to keep on announcing on air and taking 911 calls.
One woman who phoned in said the pole outside her house was sparking and she was afraid that it would catch fire. One man said he had a baby in the room with him and he was not sure what to do. He was helpless, saying: “Help me, help me.” I told him to get into the bathroom – that was the advice we were given.
The pressure in the studio was similar to that in an airplane. You had to keep opening your mouth to release the pressure. The walls were vibrating. We had to put a garbage bag over the door to protect it.
Then the system went down and we went off air and that’s when I decided to share what was happening on Twitter.
I got a voice message from my mother saying the hospital where she worked was flooding and the roof was being blown away and her voice was shaking so much. I called her and
One man said he had a baby in the room with him and he was not sure what to do. He was saying: Help me, help me. I told him to get in the bathroom
couldn’t get a response. I was pacing the hallway trying to catch myself because I was so overwhelmed about what could have happened to my family, about the helplessness I was feeling when people were calling in with their emergencies and the tears they were crying.
At one point I let out a yelp as there was a loud crash outside and I thought it was a projectile coming through the window.
I was standing in front of an exposed window and, while there was someone with a board in front of the window, it was feeble. If something had decided to fly at that window there’s no way we would have lived.
You could see trees being flung from one point to another. My co-worker’s car was moving across the parking lot to the grass, windows were smashed, things were flying. When I came out of the station there were no leaves on any trees. You could not recognise your own island. Everything was destroyed, everything was flattened. Galvanised roofs were blown out. There’s an ABC supply store close by, a huge store, and the roof was torn off and everything was piled on top of everything else. It’s a mess.
When I walked around I started to cry because the hurricane has taken it all away. We’ve just celebrated our 50-year anniversary and I feel like now we have to say: “OK, we start again, we have to rebuild all of that.”
Right now it’s just about survival. We do not have electricity and there is no running water. We have water and food, but we’re notot sure how long we will have enough. Listening to the chiefhief minister on Radioo Anguilla, he was saying the focus is not on the infrastructure,ructure, it’s on the people who are homeless.
People are stealing.ling. There is looting going on, n, a lot of bad people are taking advantage of the weaknesses of others, but that does not represent the Anguillan mentality. The majority of people are mostly trying to come together to help each other out. So many people who have lost their homes now have to rely on a friend or relative just to find a place to sleep. A lot of people are willing to open their doors right now. People are in a panic here. Hurricane José is coming. Here, it has been officially downgraded to a tropical storm but it’s still a category 4 and we’re expecting it around 1pm today [yesterday]. We are afraid of the impact because we are starting fromfr a point of weakness. We will mourn with our island, it’s such a beautiful place and it gives us so much back. There a are some people ple who are consider considering relocating, ing, a lot of people whow say they never want to exper experience this again and want to liv live in a part of the world that is not impacted by hurricanes. But that is what life is like here. Som Some people have to live with tornadoes. We live with hurricanes. canes. Nisha DupuisD was talkingtalki to Jamie DowardDow
Nisha Dupuis took to Twitter when the power failed in the radio studio.