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Dorian death toll feared to reach thousands as storm caused ‘absolute destruction’ and ‘nightmare’ to the Bahamas

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Category 5 Hurricane "Dorian" unleashed its fury on the Bahamas on September 1, 2019, as the strongest ever to hit the archipelago. 45 fatalities were initially confirmed but with the extreme damage that eradicated 45% of infrastructure on Grand Bahama and 90% on Abaco, the death toll is feared to dramatically rise to thousands. Residents described the aftermath a nightmare, saying "everything is absolutely gone," comparing the output to that of an atomic bomb.

A week after Dorian's horrifying devastation, the Bahamas were left in ravages– although the only confirmed number of missing people were hundreds, residents fear that over thousands more have not yet been found.

In a video posted by the Bahamas Press, one survivor from the Abaco islands described the situation: "There's not one house in Abaco that is standing. There's not one absolute building that is standing. All the churches are gone. All the gas stations are gone. All the food stores are gone. All the homes are gone." 

She continued saying that it was not just a hurricane that destroyed the area, but tornadoes as well. "Everything is absolutely gone. There's no life in Abaco. The whole island got washed away."

The total number of fatalities is yet to be confirmed but reports forecasted that it is going to be a "staggering" amount. Red Cross spokesperson Jennifer Eli stated, "Even search and rescue choppers haven't been able to reach some people because there's no place to land,"

Dr. Caroline Burnett-Garraway, medical chief of staff at Princess Margaret Hospital Nassau, said they would need two cooled 40-foot trucks to hold the corpses.

According to officials, the damage in infrastructure has reached around 90% in the Abaco.

However, a resident who also helped with search operations called out the number on a video saying, "Abaco is gone. I don't see Abaco ever coming back right now, between next year to two years. Abaco is devastated and if you don't believe me, ask the people of Abaco if they didn't see me on the front line, in the storm, while the storm is going, trying to rescue people, trying to help people."

Both locals described the island as uninhabitable, with dead bodies everywhere, contaminated waters, and mentioned about victims breaking into stores, gathering food, loots, and supplies.

Carl Smith, a National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) spokesperson, assured that "authorities were doing everything they can do to move as effectively and as efficiently," However, more residents aired their disappointments with the government.

In another video posted by the Bahamas Press, one local attested that "the only thing we did to survive was to scavenge food. No help. I am frustrated and upset in the government because we receive no help." 

Over 3 billion dollars in insured property was damaged in the Caribbean, reports said. Among over 400 000 residents in the Bahamas, more than 70 000 are now homeless after the hurricane directly struck the country. Around 3 500 people have been evacuated to Nassau, while 1 400 have moved to Florida.

Featured image credit: Bruno Rodríguez P @BrunoRguezP

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3 Comments

  1. Ok, why hasn’t anyone rescue operations made it to Abaco yet? It’s been 6 days and still those people. men women and little children are without any help! They need to get off that island and the dead recovered and buried, or cremated. Come Christians, if you can manage a way, find your way there and get to doing the LORDS work!

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