‘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

The Observer - - NEWS -

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.

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