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Chicago-Area Doctor Describes Destruction in The Bahamas

“What do we do? Do we stay on the side lines of history, or do we become stewards of that need?”

When Dr. Kaleem Malik and his team arrived in the Bahamas on behalf of Humanity First USA, an international disaster response organization, they met with Ministry of Health and other agencies and identified Coopers Town in Abaco Island as a place where no other medical team had gone—tasked with rebuilding the clinic there.

“It was destroyed from all the gusts of wind 185 miles per hour water that had come through the roof, the waterlogged ceilings, the flooding inside the exam rooms the lobby and the destruction of all their medical supplies,” Dr. Malik explained. “It was really quite a vision to behold.”

The team must clean up the debris and sterilize the area before seeing patients.

“We need to establish water because there is no running water,” he said. “We need to establish food, we need to establish electricity, there's no power. We need to establish communication, there's no cell signal anywhere.”

Dr. Malik was originally only going to stay in the Bahamas for 5 days and he ended up staying for a total of 12 days.

Dr. Kaleem Malik shows NBC 5 a little of the behind the scenes.

“Even for me it was very heart-breaking to come back, ’cause my heart is still there, the people who expressed a need, they want us back, they took us in like a family and they cared for us as well,” he said. “And we just didn't want to leave.”

At the moment, Dr. Malik plans to go on a relief trip to Guatemala but says he will go back to the Bahamas after that.   

“What do we do? Do we stay on the side lines of history, or do we become stewards of that need?” Malik inquired. “Now this is what I feel everyone should ask themselves that question, ‘what is it that I can do?’”

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