Girl, 12, is split from her family in hurricane-ravaged Bahamas before being separated from her godmother on arrival in the US and placed in a shelter for abandoned children
- Bahamian girl separated from godmother after they were evacuated to Florida
- She is being housed in a shelter in Miami Gardens under the custody of HHS
- Her biological mother now faces long process of getting her daughter back
A Bahamian girl has been separated from her family after she was evacuated with her godmother to Florida in the wake of Storm Dorian.
Kaytora Paul, 12, was separated from her godmother by U.S. Customs and Border Protection after they evacuated from the devastated Abaco island.
Kaytora was forced to split from her parents and three other siblings during the rescue efforts, and was flown to Florida with her godmother on Sunday night.
The pair were transferred to Miami International Airport on arrival but were reportedly separated because the godmother is not the child’s biological parent.
Kaytora Paul, 12, (pictured) was separated from her godmother by U.S. Customs and Border Protection after they evacuated from the devastated Abaco island
Two cars are seen in area destroyed by Hurricane DOrian in Marsh Harbour, Bahamas on September 10
Speaking to the Miami Herald, Kaytora’s biological mother, Katty Paul said: ‘I thought losing my house was devastating. Or having to relocate to a different island or country was devastating.
‘But when I found out that they got her, my baby, I mean, there are no words. It was at that moment that I really lost everything.’
Kaytora’s biological aunt was reportedly also refused custody of the child, who is being housed at His House Children’s Home in Miami Gardens under the custody of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.
Devastation on Great Abaco island after hurricane Dorian swept through the Bahamas
Ms Paul, who was caught in Storm Dorian alongside her husband and their four young children, said the family had to be separated when rescuers came for them because there ‘wasn’t enough space’ and Kaytora ended up with her godmother.
Ms Paul now faces an uphill battle to get her daughter back.
Homes lay in ruins one week after Hurricane Dorian hit the Marsh Harbor area of Abaco in the Bahamas
She was told she had to apply to be her daughter’s sponsor through the Department of Health (HHS) and would need to provide official documentation such as a birth certificate as well as proof of address, and the entire process could last for weeks or months.
Meanwhile Ms Paul has been given until September 26 to stay in the US.
‘I don’t even want to think about what that will look like — if I have to leave here before being able to claim my own daughter,’ she told the Miami Herald.