Exclusive: CBS12 tours devastation during relief trip to Bahamas

Volunteers bring supplies to the Bahamas. WPEC.

Hurricane Matthew delivered a devastating blow to the Bahamas.

From the moment CBS12 arrived at the West End Airport, Matthew’s impact is evident. There is destruction everywhere you look - boats on shore and businesses demolished.

The Star Hotel is the first hotel built on Grand Bahama Island 70 years ago. Today, it’s no more, a victim of Matthew’s category four winds and storm surge.

We met Robert Grant Sr. on the property. His grandfather built the landmark in 1946. “I cried when I came back. I’m now going through bushes retrieving photographs, historical documents I was keeping,” he said.

Just down the street along the seaside village, we met Freddie. There’s no power or even running water, but we found Freddie and his neighbors making fresh conch salad, a distraction from the devastation. “People coming just saying we them hope because some people are so depressed,” Freddie.

Help is on the way to the island nation. More than 25,000 pounds of supplies including water, clothing, generators and more already made its way to those in need. The items are dropped off at the Stuart Jet Center, then people like the Nicklaus family and private pilots are flying relief missions to West End.

Joseph Rieger, the owner of the Blue Marlin Cove Resort and Marina in the West End is leading the charge, delivering plane loads of supplies. “Here we can get away from a storm, we can go places, to Home Depot, Lowe's. There you have nothing, we have to bring these critical supplies to the people and help them,” he said.

Residents in the Bahamas say it’ll be months before power is restored.

If you’re interested in helping, you can drop off supplies at the Stuart Jet Center at 2501 S.E. Aviation Way, Stuart or call Joe Rieger at (772) 485-8159.

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