Gov. DeSantis plans to send Florida supplies to Bahamas following state's brush with Dorian

'I don’t want that to go to waste'
Posted at 5:35 PM, Sep 05, 2019

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. -- It's been especially hard for Bahamian-American Elijah Williamson to watch the heartbreaking images of destruction coming back from the Bahamas.

Though he lives in Tallahassee, attending college at Florida A&M, some of Williamson's family -- including his father-- call the islands home.

Seeing what they're seeing, the devastation Hurricane Dorian left behind, has been a challenge.

“This was different," Williamson said. "I was kind of at a loss for words.”

Williamson's loved ones escaped injury, but recovery won’t be easy. The once Category 5 storm knocked out power in Freeport, the main city in Grand Bahama. It's expected to stay that way for weeks. Homes have been obliterated. Flooding is everywhere.

Williamson is stuck miles away, wishing he could help.

“I can’t do much," he said. "I’m in college. It’s not like I can get out of school and be like, ‘OK what needs to be done.’”

Following calls from U.S. senators for aid and many private donation efforts, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis said Thursday the state will likely join the push to send help, offering supplies to the Bahamas.

During a news briefing, the governor said he’s coordinating with former Bahamas Ambassador John Rood to better understand the island nation’s needs. The governor will provide National Guard support if requested.

DeSantis also plans to dip into the state’s emergency water supply, saying there are hundreds of thousands of bottles set to expire at the end of hurricane season if unused.

The governor was confident Florida could spare the resources, even in the event of another hurricane.

“If we did face a storm, three or four weeks down the road — we’d be able to backfill that with no problem,” DeSantis said. “I don’t want that to go to waste if we have the ability to help some folks.”

DeSantis also encouraged Floridians to keep their travel plans to the Bahamas, if possible. He said the nation depends on tourism and Dorian left plenty of areas unaffected.

For Williamson, every little bit helps those like his family find a way to return to normal.

“The only thing I can do is hope for the best," Williamson said. "Pray that they get back on their feet.”