CSU helping Bahamian students contact family affected by hurricane

Central State University is offering its help and resources to around 100 Bahamian students on campus whose families back home may have been impacted by Hurricane Dorian.

CSU met with students Tuesday afternoon to discuss any help they may need in the wake of the hurricane, which according to national media reports has killed at least five people in the Bahamas. Dorian hovered above the Bahamas for a few days over Labor Day weekend before weakening and moving toward the southeastern United states.

CSU student Vashti Canter said she and other Bahamian students are organizing an effort to accept donations to help people impacted on the islands.

» RELATED: Area volunteers help out as Hurricane Dorian approaches east coast

“This is the country that raised me,” Canter said. “I’ve lived there my entire life. My entire community and family is there.”

Dorian unleashed massive flooding across the Bahamas, pummeling the islands with so much wind and water that authorities urged people to find flotation devices and grab hammers to break out of their attics if necessary.

Officials in the Bahamas said they received a “tremendous” number of calls from people in flooded homes. A radio station received more than 2,000 distress messages, including reports of a 5-month-old baby stranded on a roof and a grandmother with six grandchildren who cut a hole in a roof to escape rising flood waters.

The storm has destroyed thousands of houses and crippled restaurants and hospitals over the last few days.

Most students said they had been able to make contact with their families since the hurricane hit the Bahamas. Central State is working to help those who haven’t been able to reach their families.

One student told a group of nearly three-dozen students who gathered that her uncle and his family were trapped in their attic by high levels of water. Another said that he heard conditions were improving as the storm began to pass.

There are around 100 students from the Bahamas enrolled at Central State this fall, said Robert Vickers, director of CSU public relations. Making up around 93 percent of international students, Bahamians represent the largest group of students from outside the U.S. taking classes on the historically-black university’s campus, Vickers said.

Central State has a “Bahamian Student Merit Program” to attract students from the Bahamas. The program offers up to 10 scholarships annually to recent public school graduates from the Bahamas, according to CSU’s website.

So far, CSU is not aware of any students who lost family members in the hurricane.

“Thus far we’ve heard nothing specific,” Vickers said. “If something has happened, we’d expect to hear about it at this meeting.”

The Associated Press Contributed to this report.


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