Storm death toll climbs to seven

Prime Minister Dr. Hubert Minnis said last night that seven people are now confirmed dead as a result of the passage of Hurricane Dorian and more deaths are likely to be discovered in the coming days.

Minnis, who spoke during a press conference at the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) headquarters, said parts of Abaco are completely decimated because of Dorian, which struck that island as a Category 5 storm with winds of 185 miles per hour.

“Five deaths are confirmed,” Minnis said.

“There may be additional deaths that we can expect. Of the 25 individuals that were transported to New Providence, two have already succumbed. That would take the number of deaths to seven.

“We can expect more deaths.”

Minnis said he is praying for the victims’ families.

Health Minister Dr. Duane Sands later said that, “One of the persons that was injured was a 71-year-old with a head injury who subsequently succumbed.

“Another had no obvious injury, a 39-year-old, but had profound metabolic challenges and also passed away.”

The prime minister and a team of government officials, including opposition leader Philip Brave Davis, did a flyby of the Abacos yesterday, courtesy of the U.S. Coast Guard.

One government minister opined that Abaco looked like “Armageddon” had come.

“Parts of Abaco are decimated,” Minnis said.

“There is severe flooding. There is severe flooding damage to homes, businesses and infrastructure.

“The southern aspect of Abaco has suffered less devastation than the north. The Sandy Point area and progressing north has not suffered as much devastation that was seen in the Marsh Harbour vicinity. The international airport on Abaco is under water. The runway is currently flooded. In fact, the area around the airport now looks like a lake.

“Marsh Harbour has suffered in excess of 60 percent of damage to the homes. The Mudd as we know it has been completely destroyed or decimated.”

The Mudd is a Haitian shantytown on the island.

Minnis said Cooper’s Town also suffered some damage.

“We are in the midst of one of the greatest national [crises] in our country’s history,” Minnis said, adding that the government would use all of its resources to help the people impacted.

“No effort or resources will be held back,” he said.

In the meantime, he called on Bahamians to pray.

He noted that the government will send additional police and Royal Bahamas Defence Force officers to Abaco to ensure that no violence or looting occurs.

There were harrowing stories of people seeking shelter from Dorian as their homes fell apart and storm surges chased them out.

The stories are no less traumatic on Grand Bahama.

Asked about reports of death on Grand Bahama, Minnis said he has heard some reports, but could not verify them.

Hurricane Dorian continued its trek away from the northern Bahamas yesterday, after stalling over Grand Bahama for hours on Monday night and yesterday morning.

Meteorologist Trevor Basden said Dorian remained a Category 2 hurricane as it headed towards Florida.

The hurricane warning has been discontinued.

Basden said he expects the all clear to be issued at 5 a.m. today.

Hurricane Dorian, which is the strongest storm to ever make landfall in the northern Bahamas, weaved a path of destruction through both islands over the last three days.

Minnis said assessments will continue today.

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Travis Cartwright-Carroll

Travis Cartwright-Carroll is the assistant editor. He covers a wide range of national issues. He joined The Nassau Guardian in 2011 as a copy editor before shifting to reporting. He was promoted to assistant news editor in December 2018. Education: College of The Bahamas, English

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