Dorian has battered the Bahamas with a 23-foot storm surge the size of a two story building and storm winds have increased to 185 miles per hour. It’s growing in size and inching towards the US at 2 miles every hour.
Nagam Alghawi, a resident of Miami, Florida, is currently a student at Florida International University, and works at Nicklaus Children’s Hospital. “I was kind of blowing it off, because we are used to it,” Alghawi said.
It is not clear exactly when and where Dorian will hit, but it is expected to move over Florida and North Carolina within the next 24 hours. It appears as though Dorian will make landfall as a category 4 hurricane. Category 4 is the second-highest hurricane classification category on the Saffir–Simpson Hurricane Scale. Storms of this extreme intensity maintain sustained winds of 113–136 knots (130–156 mph, 209–251 km/h).
“People are evacuating. there is no gas at the gas station; there is no water at the stores; there is barely any food. It’s so crazy. People are fighting.” Alghawi continues, “You really see their true nature and humanity in these situations.”
The Druze community in Florida has a group chat which helps keep everyone in touch. Alghawi said, “since my mom and I work in a hospital, there is a high chance they will have us active during the hurricane.”
In times like this, the Druze have always shown support for each other. In 2017, Joe Ghazal, from Houston Texas, started an emergency donation fund on behalf of his Druze nonprofit Network 1017 (network1017.com) to help those affected by Hurricane Harvey. If you don’t remember, the 2017 hurricane affected 13 million people in the US, with at least 88 deaths and $125 billion in damages.
Ghazal’s fund generated over $10,000 and helped those whose property suffered damage from the storm. Ghazal said that the locals underestimated the power of Harvey and added, “when the hurricane hit, it caused massive destruction.”
Last year, Alghawi and her mother had to sleep at the hospital, and it is most likely that they will be doing that again this year. At least seven hospitals in Florida are now evacuating. There are about two thousand Druze in Florida. With Hurricanes being nothing new for them, it is still frightening and nonetheless, disastrous.
Liliana Naim, president of the American Druze Central Florida Chapter, says that they will be in the eye of the storm unless it turns. According to Naim, “for now we are preparing for a category four; we are starting to get nervous here.” Although Central Florida does not get hit hard by hurricanes, Naim said they are still preparing for what’s to come.
As of now, Druze in Atlanta are offering friends a place to shelter and stay away from Hurricane Dorian.
While Dorian holds so much uncertainty, it also holds so much power within its heavy winds and big storm surge. Our prayers are with all of the families that may be affected by the hurricane.