(CMR) Nearly half of the homes on Grand Bahama Island and Abaco have been destroyed or severely damaged in Hurricane Dorian and 60,000 people have been left without food and clean drinking water, and officials expect the death toll from the storm to dramatically increase.
The most powerful storm ever to hit the Bahamas parked itself over the two islands, thrashing them with winds as high as 185 mph before moving toward Florida on Tuesday night. Aerial footage taken Tuesday showed hospitals, fire and police stations, and the main airport either underwater or destroyed, as British, Canadian, and U.S. military personnel were deployed for the widespread rescue and recovery efforts.
“It’s total devastation. It’s decimated. Apocalyptic,”Lia Head-Rigby, a local hurricane worker
“It’s not rebuilding something that was there; we have to start again.”Prime Minister Hubert Minnis
FREEPORT, Bahamas (AP) — Rescue crews in the Bahamas fanned out across a blasted landscape of smashed and flooded homes Wednesday, trying to reach drenched and stunned victims of Hurricane Dorian and take the full measure of the disaster. The official death toll stood at seven but was certain to rise.
A day after the most powerful hurricane on record ever to hit the country finished mauling the islands of Abaco and Grand Bahama, emergency workers had yet to reach some stricken areas.
“Right now there are just a lot of unknowns,” Parliament member Iram Lewis said. “We need help.”
Dorian, meanwhile, pushed its way northward off the Florida shoreline with reduced but still-dangerous 105 mph (165 kph) winds on a projected course that could sideswipe Georgia and the Carolinas. An estimated 3 million people in the four states were warned to clear out, and highways leading inland were turned into one-way evacuation routes.
The storm parked over the Bahamas and pounded it for over a day and a half with winds up to 185 mph (295 kph) and torrential rains, swamping neighborhoods in muddy brown floodwaters and destroying or severely damaging thousands of homes.
“We are in the midst of one of the greatest national crises in our country’s history,” said Prime Minister Hubert Minnis. He said he expects the number of dead to rise.