COVINGTON, Ga. - Ron Compton, senior pastor of Common Ground Church, is asking anyone looking to give back in the wake of Hurricane Dorian to reach out, as donations are being accepted and trips are being planned to go to Abaco Islands, Bahamas to rebuild Abaco Youth Camp.
"Camp Abaco is the center point of action," Compton said. "Once rebuilt, it can house 200-plus people who could then rebuild the island. It is a key the restoration of the island."
Compton has had a relationship with Camp Abaco since the '90s and said a mission trip was already in the works for June of 2020 to take students from Covington Academy to work on the camp.
"Now the meaning of that trip has changed," he said.
Compton said he is waiting on official word from the Convoy of Hope before making other trip plans, but he wants to have volunteers in line who are ready to go once those plans are made.
"There are a lot of unknowns at this time," he said. "We don't know when, but we know that we will do something."
At least 30 people died in the hurricane and the number could be "significantly higher," Bahamian health minister Duane Sands told The Associated Press in a telephone interview late Thursday. The victims are from Abaco and Grand Bahama islands and include some who died from injuries after being flown to New Providence island, he said.
The hurricane hit Abaco on Sunday and then hovered over Grand Bahama for a day and a half.
On Thursday, emergency officials fanned out across stricken areas to track down people who were missing or in distress. Crews began clearing streets and setting up aid distribution centers.
Relief officials reported scenes of utter ruin in parts of the Bahamas and rushed to deal with an unfolding humanitarian crisis in the wake of Hurricane Dorian, the most powerful storm on record ever to hit the islands.
The storm's punishing winds and muddy brown floodwaters destroyed or severely damaged thousands of homes, crippled hospitals and trapped people in attics.
"It's total devastation. It's decimated. Apocalyptic," Lia Head-Rigby, who helps run a local hurricane relief organization and flew over the Bahamas,' hard-hit Abaco Islands, told the AP. "It's not rebuilding something that was there; we have to start again."
Compton said anyone wishing to donate supplies - such as cleaning buckets, cleaning supplies, monetary donations or labor - should contact him directly at 404-604-5403 or firstname.lastname@example.org.