Thousands wait to leave Bahamas on cruise ship that delivered supplies

FREEPORT, Bahamas (WSVN) – Thousands waited for hours and in mileslong lines for the possibility to leave the Bahamas on board a cruise ship that brought supplies to Grand Bahama Island.

Days after Hurricane Dorian sat on top of the island and caused unthinkable damage, desperation has continued to take hold.

Shamara Cooper is one of thousands lined up outside the port doors and for miles on the highway leading into Freeport since early Friday morning.

“I just want it to be over,” Cooper said.

The crowds are all hoping to get off the island.

“Unbearable. The conditions are unbearable,” Shemona Cooper said. “There is feces everywhere. In some places, there is bodies.”

As this crowds try to seek sanctuary somewhere else, people like Pastor Lindward Knowles, who wants to see his congregation, are trying to get back home to the Bahamas from the U.S.

“We’ve been away for about three weeks,” Knowles said. “The pictures coming in, they were very devastating.  They uh … I cried sometimes. Nevertheless, we made it.”

After weeks away, waiting and watching from afar, dozens are thankful to be back, even if they don’t know exactly what they are walking into.

“The house is flooded and stuff, so I don’t know what to expect when we return,” resident Olivia Forbes said.

Along with those traveling back to the islands, tons of much needed food, supplies and relief were brought over by the Grand Celebration Cruise Ship. The ship was converted from a vessel for a relaxing getaway to a humanitarian rescue mission.

The vessel brought all those who wanted to return to the island and will go back to the U.S. with those who have a ticket out.

“It was very natural for us to step up and provide relief when we saw what was happening,” Bahamas Paradise Cruise Line CEO Oneil Khosa said.

After the supplies and the passengers are unloaded, the ship will fill with those looking for a way out.

“We are in a stressful situation now, and I would prefer just being elsewhere,” Franklin Roll said.

Cooper was able to board the ship.

A lot of the people that are leaving the Bahamas said they don’t want to stay away as they head towards the U.S., but rather, they want a break from it and take a shower, a place to put their feet up, some air conditioning and some good food.

The cruise line said they hope to continue doing the trips for as long as they can and as long as they evaluate how the island is moving forward.

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