Around 70,000 people need life-saving assistance and the death toll currently at 30 is expected to climb as the Bahamas’ ‘Katrina moment’ hits in the wake of Hurricane Dorian’s devastation.
The catastrophic Category 5 hurricane barrelled through the island chain of Abaco and Grand Bahama on Sunday (September 1), battering the areas with 185mph winds and torrential rain. What was once a tropical suburbia is now a bombsite.
‘All the main buildings, gone. It’s gone. Everything is gone,’ said Robert Cornea, who has lived in Abaco for more than 50 years with his wife Phyllis. The couple have been homeless since the weekend.
As reported by the MailOnline, Phyllis said from the wreckage of her home:
Take a picture of me because it’s all I have left, what you see me in. I’ve been in this four days.
Around 70,000 people ‘are in immediate need of life-saving assistance’ according to United Nations humanitarian chief Mark Lowcock, who added on Wednesday (September 4) that the most urgent needs are water, food, shelter and accommodation.
Bahamian Health Minister Duane Sands said:
This is our Katrina moment.
As the death toll rose to 30, Sands added the official count could be ‘staggering’. Officials are reportedly sending morticians and 200 body bags to the Abaco Islands, the worst-hit part of the archipelago.
Hundreds, possibly thousands, of people are still missing.
Prime Minister Hubert Minnis said they expect the number to continue to rise, and that Dorian has left the Bahamas with ‘generational devastation’ – the hurricane is now hitting the coasts of South and North Carolina in the US, but is weakening.
As reported by BBC News, Minnis told local radio:
The public needs to prepare for unimaginable information about the death toll and the human suffering.
According to an estimate of the scale of the catastrophe by Karen Clark & Co, the hurricane has racked up $7 billion in insured and uninsured property losses. The International Red Cross posit that 45 per cent of homes on Grand Bahama and the Abacos – around 13,000 properties – were severely damaged or destroyed.
UN chief Lowcock told Minnis that he was releasing $1 million from the UN Central Emergency Response Fund immediately to deal with these priorities as well as for medical supplies and services for Grand Bahama.
The UN World Food Programme said eight tons of ready-to-eat meals, storage units, generators and other emergency suppliers are to be flown in from Panama. The US Coast Guard said on Thursday they had rescued 201 residents.
Just this week, a Florida man bought 100 generators – at the cost of $49, 285.70 – to send to the Bahamas to help with the relief effort.
Also, another incredibly thoughtful young boy has been praised for donating money which he carefully saved for a trip to Disneyland to buy food for Hurricane Dorian evacuees.
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After graduating from Glasgow Caledonian University with an NCTJ and BCTJ-accredited Multimedia Journalism degree, Cameron ventured into the world of print journalism at The National, while also working as a freelance film journalist on the side, becoming an accredited Rotten Tomatoes critic in the process. He’s now left his Scottish homelands and took up residence at UNILAD as a journalist.