September 5, 2019 / 3:04 PM / a month ago

Survivor sees Dorian peel off his home's roof in the Bahamas: 'This can't be real'

MARSH HARBOUR, Bahamas (Reuters) - Bahamas storm survivor Ramond King watched as Hurricane Dorian’s swirling winds ripped the roof off his house in the Abaco Islands, and then as it churned to a neighbor’s home to pluck the entire structure off the earth.

Hurricane Dorian's destruction is seen on the Marsh Harbour in Abaco Islands, Bahamas, September 4, 2019 in this photo grab obtained from a social media video by Reuters on September 5, 2019. Ramond A King via REUTERS

“‘This can’t be real, this can’t be real’,” King said, as he recalled the thoughts that flashed across his mind as one of the most powerful Caribbean storms on record roared through the Bahamas earlier this week, killing at least 20 people.

“Nothing is here, nothing at all. Everything is gone, just bodies,” King said as he surveyed the wreckage of his home in the seaside town, according to a video provided to Reuters.

The storm peeled the roof back like the top of a tin can, and wires were left drooping into the gaping hole, video images showed. Destroyed belongings, shredded paper and wooden planks lay scattered across the floor and ruined furniture.

The Category 5 storm, which weakened to a Category 3 before approaching the U.S. coast in South Carolina on Thursday, left only King’s bedroom intact in the modest home.

As the storm wreaked havoc, he recalled, his mother and a family friend rushed in, sobbing and seeking refuge.

“There’s crying, everybody is panicking,” King said. “We were just packing what we could have packed. And we were running through the hurricane at the same time, we watched the tornado lift my neighbor’s house up and bring it back down.”

Some 70,000 people in the Bahamas need immediate humanitarian relief after Dorian, the United Nations said. It was the most damaging storm ever to hit the island nation, with the Abaco Islands in the north being the worst-hit area.

“Everything is gone. No banks, no stores, no nothing,” said King, who estimated it would take at least four years to rebuild Marsh Harbour, a town in the Abaco Islands.

“Nothing is here, nothing at all. Everything is gone, just bodies.”

Additional reporting by Barbara Goldberg in New York; Editing by Scott Malone and Bernadette Baum

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