Riviera Beach, Fla. (CBS12) — Over 1,000 Bahamian refugees, left behind devastation and chaos and landed in the Port of Palm Beach after being brought over on a cruise ship to escape Hurricane Dorian's destruction.
Many of the refugees arrived with only the clothes on their backs. Their families waited anxiously to hug the loved ones that made it through Dorian.
Two people who waited, Doreen Campbell and Kathleen Lightfoot, haven't seen each other since high school. Just by chance, they're on the same quest, to be reunited with their family coming to Riviera Beach on the Grand Celebration.
"I was teary-eyed driving in when I got to the boat area," said Lightfoot, who lives in Freeport but is in West Palm Beach visiting her sister.
By chance, they both weren't at their homes in Freeport, Grand Bahama when Hurricane Dorian hit.
"All my family is over there. Everybody. I probably only have five and counting here," said Campbell.
Lightfoot and Campbell waited hours to greet family coming in.
"Many, many got hurt in this, many don't have a home or no place. They don't even have water and nothing to eat. We're still grateful because they're still alive," said Lightfoot.
The 80-mile journey is taking even longer as these two women and throngs of others wait.
"Evey time I see a child come I think of my grandson, my baby, " said Lightfoot.
Both women were overjoyed when they reunited with their families after they waited for the 1,100 refugees to get through customs.
"Just happy," said Campbell.
The refugees can stay under asylum here for 30 days before having to apply for visas. Lawmakers are working legislation to allow Bahamian refugees to stay without visas.
On Saturday, the U.S. Customs and Border Patrol said that they processed 1,435 passengers from the Bahamas who arrived at the Port of Palm Beach.