Tybee Islanders return to ravaged isle, business marks day two of serving neighbors

TYBEE ISLAND, Ga (WSAV) – Sunday afternoon hundreds of people returned to Tybee Island less than two days from when Hurricane Matthew nearly made landfall on the island.

“I don’t know why. What’s going on with this,” says Kenneth Goodson who was waiting since Sunday morning to return to Tybee.

Tybee islanders frustrated after nearly two days they reenter the island to see what’s left of their yards and homes.

Islanders returning home are facing an uphill battle, power remains spotty across the island and residents are urged to not use their restrooms or drains as the city’s sewer line is trying to be pumped out without electricity. An update from Tybee Island officials confirms manual pumps are active and the sewage system is running.

“The city is providing port-a-let locations at 16th street parking lot, city hall parking lot and Huc-A-Poos,” says Tybee Island clerk of council Jan Leviner.

At Huc-A-Poos owner Eric Thomas continues his more than a day long effort to feed his neighbors.

“I was expecting the worst. When we pulled in I kinda had my eyes closed like ‘oh, I’m not ready for this,'” says Thomas.

Thomas like many islanders know it could have been much worse.

“Barring maybe 10 houses that I know of for the most part we dodged a bullet. We got lucky.”

Now he’s doing his part, for the second day he’s feeding everyone who walks in as long as he has gas and food that now needs to be served.

“There’s a lot of stuff that our generator won’t keep cold, so we’re just giving everything away hoping that people get fed get home and get settled in.”

All of it free of charge, but that doesn’t bother Thomas, he shares the same sentiment with islanders across Tybee, now is the time to support and rebuild the community that was bent but not broken.

“Although it’s tragic and although it’s terrible these are the things that make our community so tight because when you need help from your neighbor they’re there for you. It’s been a wonderful experience.”

Tybee leaders say the water system is running but by diesel power provided by GEMA. We will update when or if power will be restored on the island.

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