Tag Archives: Bahamas

Still reeling from Dorian, Bahamas hit by tropical storm Humberto

ropical Storm Humberto moved away from the Bahamas on Saturday after dumping rain on parts of the archipelago’s northwest region that were already hammered by Hurricane Dorian two weeks ago.

Humberto dropped rain on the islands as U.N. Secretary-General António Guterres visited the Bahamas to support humanitarian efforts in the wake of Dorian, which hit as a Category 5 storm that left thousands in need of food, water and shelter. The list of missing stands at an alarming 1,300 people and the death toll at 50. But officials caution the list is preliminary and many people could just be unable to connect with loved ones.

The storm originally threatened to exacerbate the nation’s problems, but conditions appeared to normalize Saturday afternoon.

At 11 p.m. EDT, the U.S. National Hurricane Center said Humberto was located about 85 miles (137 kilometers) north of Great Abaco Island and was moving 6 mph (9 kph) north-northwest with maximum sustained winds of 60 mph (97 kph). The Bahamian government discontinued a tropical storm warning earlier in the evening.

Weather forecasters say Humberto will likely become a hurricane Sunday as it moves away from the Bahamas and the U.S. coast, but won’t threaten land by the time it intensifies to that strength. Its swells could still affect the coasts of Florida, Georgia, South Carolina and North Carolina in the coming days.

Under a bright sun in the Grand Bahama, 40-year-old maintenance man Dexter Wilson was helping a friend put a blue tarp on a damaged roof. He said he was worried about his brother in Abaco given the tropical storm.

“He’s still there. I don’t know why,” he said.

The hurricane center said most of Humberto’s heavy squalls were occurring north and east of the center of the storm, which passed just east of Abaco. However, government officials in the Bahamas took no chances and urged people in damaged homes to seek shelter as they announced that aid efforts would be temporarily affected.

“The weather system will slow down logistics,” said Carl Smith, spokesman for the National Emergency Management Agency.

The distribution of meals in Grand Bahama was reduced ahead of the storm, and a spokesman for the United Nations World Food Program said all flights into its logistics hub in Marsh Harbor in Abaco were suspended.

Later Saturday, WFP spokesman Herve Verhoosel said the agency had resumed activities in Marsh Harbor.

“Our team is back at work to support the population and relief organizations,” Verhoosel said in a statement.

Dave McGregor, president and COO of the Grand Bahama Power Company, said crews would resume restoring power as soon as possible.

“We are back in storm preparation mode again, unfortunately,” he said.

Guterres, who was in Abaco on Saturday, said he was “horrified” by the level of “systematic devastation.”

“Hurricane Dorian has been classified as Category 5. I think it’s Category Hell,” the U.N. secretary-general said after his visit.

He said storms powered by climate change had grown more intense, and he implored the international community to learn from the example of Abaco and Grand Bahama and provide support.

“We have always had many hurricanes, but now they are more intense, and they are more frequent,” he said.

Guterres, who was in Abaco on Saturday, said he was “horrified” by the level of “systematic devastation.”

“Hurricane Dorian has been classified as Category 5. I think it’s Category Hell,” the U.N. secretary-general said after his visit.

He said storms powered by climate change had grown more intense, and he implored the international community to learn from the example of Abaco and Grand Bahama and provide support.

“We have always had many hurricanes, but now they are more intense, and they are more frequent,” he said.

https://www.indiatoday.in/world/story/still-reeling-from-dorian-bahamas-hit-by-tropical-storm-humberto-1599322-2019-09-15

Rescue efforts continue after Hurricane Dorian leaves Bahamas

Rescue workers in the Bahamas are still searching for bodies after Hurricane Dorian devastated the islands last week.

At least 50 people are confirmed dead and now there is an urgent appeal to help the survivors in the aftermath of the most powerful storm to ever hit the Caribbean.

https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2019/09/rescue-efforts-continue-hurricane-dorian-leaves-bahamas-190911072021832.html

Death toll from Hurricane Dorian rises to at least 50 in Bahamas

Hurricane Dorian’s rampage through the Bahamas last week killed at least 50 people, largely on the hard-hit Great Abaco Island, an official said on Tuesday.

That is up from the last-reported figure of 45, Carl Smith, a spokesman for the islands’ National Emergency Management Agency, told reporters. Evacuees, rescue workers and officials widely expect the number to climb higher as more bodies are pulled from the rubble of a demolished neighborhood in Marsh Harbour in Abaco.

Dorian pummeled the Bahamas with 320km/h winds. 

It was one of the strongest Caribbean hurricanes on record and stands as the worst disaster in Bahamian history.

As relief efforts got underway slowly, stirring frustration among locals, several Bahamians said they might attempt to emigrate to the US rather than face an uncertain rebuilding at home.

It is not clear whether the US President Donald Trump’s administration, which has sought to severely curtail legal and illegal immigration, will smooth their path.

But a growing chorus of Congress members, including Florida Republicans Marco Rubio and Rick Scott, have called for a suspension of visa requirements to help reunite stranded Bahamians with US relatives.

Some 70,000 people were in need of food and shelter, the World Food Programme estimated. Private forecasters estimated that some $3 billion in insured property was destroyed or damaged in the Caribbean.

https://www.trtworld.com/life/death-toll-from-hurricane-dorian-rises-to-at-least-50-in-bahamas-29678

Trump says some Bahamas typhoon evacuees not welcome in US

President Donald Trump said on Monday that some Bahamas evacuees seeking refuge in the wake of Hurricane Dorian were not welcome in the United States, despite the head of his own Customs and Border Patrol saying the humanitarian crisis calls for the US to extend emergency relief.

“Everybody needs totally proper documentation,” Trump said on the South Lawn of the White House on Monday.

“The Bahamas has some tremendous problems with people going to the Bahamas that weren’t supposed to be there. I don’t want to allow people that weren’t supposed to be in the Bahamas to come into the United States, including some very bad people and some very bad gang members and some very, very bad drug dealers.”‘

Republican and Democratic lawmakers have asked the White House to clarify its policy as tens of thousands board ships and planes bound for the US.

Hurricane Dorian devastated the Bahamas last week, ravaging the island nation for over 40 hours with record Category 5 winds.

On Monday, it was reported that emergency workers and volunteers from the US found five more bodies in the debris, with more expected to be recovered in the coming days. So far, 45 people are confirmed to have died.

According to the United Nations, at least 70,000 are in need of food and shelter.

Jasmin Turner-Dareus, a senator in the Bahamas, told Al Jazeera that the government is working to bring relief to tens of thousands of people who have been displaced.

Amid the disaster, Trump insisted that “large sections of the Bahamas were not hit. And we are not allowing those people from the sections that were not hit.”

Earlier in the afternoon on Monday, Trump’s acting Commissioner of Customs and Border Protection (CBP) Mark Morgan told reporters in a press briefing that the agency was processing entrants without documentation.

“This is a humanitarian mission, right?” Morgan said.

“If your life is in jeopardy – you’re in the Bahamas, and you want to get to the United States – you’re going to be allowed to come to the United States, right? Whether you have travel documents or not,” he said.

“We’ve already processed people that have travel documents and don’t have travel documents.”

Policy confusion

The confusion on the evacuees started on Sunday night when a group of more than 100 people from the Bahamas were blocked from boarding a ferry bound for Fort Lauderdale in the US state of Florida.

The US Customs and Border Protection said the decision was not theirs.

A spokesperson for CBP said the 103 Bahamians who were not allowed to travel did not have any kind of identification.

“If they didn’t have IDs, they would have to go to a very lengthy process,” the spokesperson said, adding that it was the decision of the boat company to remove some of the passengers.

Morgan, the CBP acting commissioner, said he had authorised the deployment of “an enormous amount of resources to Southern Florida” to receive people arriving from the Bahamas.

CBP is conducting its typical vetting process for entrants into the country, examining criminal records that might deem some individuals inadmissible, he added.

“Already we’ve received two cruise ships – thousands of folks that we have processed,” Morgan stated, referencing at least one ship carrying 1,400 people that was processed in a matter of hours.

Democrats and Republicans from Florida on Monday urged the administration to clear up the confusion.

“We need to get to bottom of this as soon as possible,” said Donna Shalala, a Democrat representing the city of Miami.

“I do believe that turning away our Bahamian neighbours from temporarily entering the US after they have lost everything in Hurricane Dorian is unconscionable and goes against everything our country stands for.”

Republican Senators Marco Rubio and Rick Scott urged the administration to clarify visa requirements for Bahamians. They both want visa requirements waived for Dorian survivors.

“As hundreds of thousands of Bahamians seek refuge or start to rebuild after Hurricane Dorian, we cannot have the kind of confusion that occurred last night in Freeport.”

https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2019/09/trump-bahamas-typhoon-evacuees-190910014156441.html

Alive but lost: In Bahamas, Hurricane Dorian survivors wonder what next

ays after fleeing their crumbling home and breaking into a vacant apartment to take shelter while Hurricane Dorian rampaged over the Bahamas’ Great Abaco Island, Samuel Cornish and his family caught a rescue flight to Nassau.

Asked what waited for him there, Cornish, a pastor’s son, was blunt: “Nothing,” he said. “Just a new life.”

By Sunday, a week after one of the strongest Caribbean hurricanes on record plowed into the archipelago nation of 400,000 people, the capital city faced a wave of thousands of evacuees fleeing hard-hit areas including Marsh Harbour in the Abacos, where some 90% of the infrastructure was damaged or destroyed.

Great Abaco was littered with mounds of unused construction materials, waterlogged notebooks and Bibles, stained piles of tattered clothes, single shoes, overturned bathtubs and rotting mattresses. Dead cats and dogs were strewn throughout the wreckage while some stray animals were digging through the garbage for food and had taken up residence on the porches of destroyed homes. At least one wild pig weathered the storm, celebrating its survival by charging at two Reuters journalists.

“What I was struck by was the focused nature of the devastation,” Mark Green, the administrator of the U.S. Agency for International Development, told reporters in Nassau on Sunday, adding that some areas in Abaco looked “almost as though a nuclear bomb was dropped.”

Bahamian officials were still pulling bodies from the wreckage across the island and acknowledged that the official death toll of 43 was likely to rise markedly.

Some 70,000 people need food and shelter, according to the United Nations’ World Food Programme’s estimate. Interviews with evacuees this week shone light on the extent of Dorian’s destruction. Survivors avoided death, but lost homes, jobs and hospitals.

“Home is more than four walls and a roof – it’s the neighborhood where people live, their friends and neighbors, their livelihoods, comfort, and security for the future,” said Jenelle Eli, a spokeswoman for the Red Cross, which is helping with the relief. “People are concerned about their next step, but also how they’ll earn an income and what their lives will look like in the future.”

Bahamian officials acknowledged on Saturday that Nassau would strain to house all the people who needed shelter.

Some institutions that had opened their doors as a place for people to ride out the storm were trying to clear out people who had lost homes, Leonardo Cargill, of the island’s Department of Social Services, told a news conference.

“They now understand that the people coming in, it will be long-term sheltering, and many of them are church facilities and they cannot allow that to go on,” Cargill said.

TENT CITIES POSSIBLE

That has Nassau officials considering other options.

“We can look at the tent city concept and the container city concept, these are all support mechanisms to help us,” Captain Stephen Russell, who heads the National Emergency Management Agency, told the news conference. “Jobs may be a challenge at this time but long term we can house them.”

International aid was also pouring into the island nation.

The US Agency for International Development said it was allocating $2.8 million and had moved enough emergency supplies for 44,000 people to the islands.

The American Red Cross said it had committed an initial $2 million to help the Bahamas recover from the hurricane, with food, water and shelter and other necessities.

Norwegian energy company Equinor (EQNR.OL) said on Sunday it will clean up an onshore oil spill discovered this week at its Bahamas storage terminal in the storm’s aftermath.

The storm had made its way to Canada by Sunday, where the U.S. National Hurricane Center said it was a still-powerful post-tropical cyclone with 75 mile-per-hour (120 km-per-hour) winds over the Gulf of St. Lawrence.

Many in hard-hit Marsh Harbour on Great Abaco complained that aid had been too slow in arriving.

“They haven’t done a thing to help us down here,” shouted Tepeto Davis, a 37-year-old tile contractor who slammed on the brakes of his pickup truck and backed up to talk to reporters. “We are suffering out here and no one cares about us. We’ve had to funnel gasoline out of destroyed cars to get injured people back and forth. There’s no gas, there’s no food, no medicine, and no water.”

Those receiving aid in Nassau worried that they were still a long way from being able to rebuild their lives.

“The government says everyone’s being fed, and that’s good,” said Anthony Morley, 61, who fled Marsh Harbour and was staying at Breezes, a Nassau resort where local volunteers have subsidized rooms for survivors. “But for food I can fish. What I need is a house. I don’t have a bed, a refrigerator. I don’t even have a Bible.”

https://www.indiatoday.in/world/story/alive-but-lost-in-bahamas-hurricane-dorian-survivors-wonder-what-next-1597002-2019-09-09?utm_source=rss

Amid fears of higher Dorian death toll, islanders vie to leave

Bahamians who lost everything in the devastating passage of Hurricane Dorian were scrambling Saturday to escape the worst-hit islands by sea and air, after the powerful storm left at least 43 people dead with officials fearing a “significantly” higher toll.

A loosely coordinated armada of passenger planes, helicopters and both private and government boats and ships — including redirected cruise liners — was converging on the horribly battered Abaco Islands to help with evacuations, both to Nassau and to the US mainland.

Thousands of miles (kilometers) north, Canadians were hunkering down along the country’s Atlantic coast as Dorian, packing 100 mph (155 kph) winds, began knocking down trees and tossing debris across the region.

Dorian was expected to make landfall Saturday evening near the port city of Halifax, home to Canada’s Atlantic fleet.

Television images showed a downpour and howling winds in the empty streets of downtown Halifax as the outer edge of the storm approached. A crane collapsed onto an apartment building in the area and 300,000 households were without power.

For now in the Bahamian, supplies of food and water were adequate, Prime Minister Hubert Minnis said, although several witnesses from Abaco contested that.

Plans were being hammered out for constructing tents and other temporary accommodations, the Nassau Guardian reported, although Minnis said Nassau “cannot possibly accommodate” all the Abaco victims.

Evacuees began flowing out of the region as a cruise ship carrying 1,400 evacuees docked Saturday in Riviera Beach, Florida, CNN reported. All had documents to enter the US.

More than 260 Abacos residents arrived Friday in Nassau on a government-chartered ferry. Another, carrying 200, was set to leave on Saturday.

Residents said conditions on the islands were brutal and that the smell of unrecovered bodies, along with mounting piles of garbage, was oppressive and unsanitary.

Hundreds or even thousands of people were still missing, officials said, as search-and-rescue teams continued their grim retrievals and morticians with body bags began to arrive.

Minnis said the death toll — 35 so far in the Abacos and eight in Grand Bahama — was likely to climb “significantly.”

He called the loss of life “catastrophic and devastating.”

The final death toll “will be staggering,” Health Minister Duane Sands said earlier.

A UN World Food Program team estimated that 90 percent of buildings in Marsh Harbour were damaged.

UN relief officials said more than 70,000 people on Grand Bahama and Abaco were in need of assistance. The WFP was sending food and supplies.

The US Coast Guard, Britain’s Royal Navy and private organizations have been helping evacuate island residents to Nassau, hampered by damaged piers and airport runways.

The Coast Guard said Saturday, however, that all Bahamian ports had now reopened. It said it had deployed nine cutters to the islands and that six of its MH-60 Jayhawk helicopters had so far rescued 290 people.

Chamika Durosier was waiting early Saturday at the Abaco airport. The island, she said, was unsafe.

“The home that we were in fell on us,” she said. “We had to crawl — got out crawling. By the grace of God we are alive.”

She described the increasingly desperate plight of those left behind.

“People have no food. People have no water, and it’s not right. They should have been gone.

“Dead bodies are still around and it’s not sanitary.”

At Marsh Harbour’s commercial port, Miralda Smith, a Haitian national, had arrived overnight on foot and was waiting in sweltering heat with dozens of other evacuees for passage to Nassau.

“We have no water, no electricity — we’re dying,” she said. “It’s really catastrophic.”

Many evacuees were Haitian workers who had seen their makeshift homes in a shantytown known as The Mudd completely flattened.

Those who have made it to safety awaited news of loved ones.

Dorian, a monstrous Category 5 hurricane when it raked through the Bahamas, was buffeting southwestern Nova Scotia, Canada, on Saturday with landfall expected in the evening, the National Hurricane Center said at 5:00 pm (2100 GMT).

The Canadian Hurricane Centre predicted a landfall near Halifax and issued warnings for parts of Nova Scotia and Newfoundland.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau was briefed on the storm.

“The safety of Canadians is our number one priority and we’re ready to help Atlantic Canada through this storm,” he said on Twitter.

Dorian was predicted to pass “near or over” Prince Edward Island overnight and parts of Newfoundland and Labrador on Sunday.

Earlier, Dorian brought flooding and power outages but no major damage to the coastal Carolinas and Virginia in the United States.

https://www.afp.com/en/news/3954/amid-fears-higher-dorian-death-toll-islanders-vie-leave-doc-1k377a4

Dorian death toll climbs to 30 in Bahamas: PM

The death toll from Hurricane Dorian has risen to 30 in the Bahamas, Prime Minister of the Bahamas Hubert Minnis said Thursday.

Minnis gave this number in a telephone interview with CNN Thursday evening, and called the storm a “generational devastation.”

The United Nations has said 70,000 people in the Bahamas were in “immediate need” of aid.

Dorian pounded the U.S. states of North and South Carolina Thursday night with strong winds and torrential rains, causing massive power shortages in both states after leaving terrible damage in the Bahamas.

The hurricane, currently a Category 2 storm, continues moving north along the U.S. East Coast.

http://www.xinhuanet.com/english/2019-09/06/c_138370119.htm

Dorian Death Toll in Bahamas Rises to 30: Government

Prime Minister Hubert Minnis says the official death toll on the Caribbean island from the Cat. 5 storm is at 30, but will continue to go up.

The number of dead in the Bahamas due to Hurricane Dorian last Thursday has grown to 30, announced Prime Minister Hubert Minnis during a Sept. 5 interview in which the leader reiterated that the official figure “will surely rise.” The previous official number was 23 deceased.

Minnis also announced free flights will be available to those who want to leave as soon as airports are up and running. 

During his CNN interview, the Bahamas leader said that the United States helped the island save lives. “f it had not been for the rapid arrival of aid from the United States, the death toll would be even higher and we would not have advanced so much in terms of aid distribution.”

He also said that he does not know when the flights will begin for people who are not elderly or sick, the first to be taken off the islands, but hopes it will be in “five days” and there will be free transfers to Nassau.

Minnis reported that the disaster experienced in both islands of the archipelago will be “devastating for a whole generation” and will take “a long time to overcome” the experience of the Category 5 storm.

The scope of the damage and humanitarian crisis was still unfolding as aerial video of the Abaco Islands in the northern Bahamas showed wide swaths of destruction. Aid agencies estimated that tens of thousands of people will still need food and other support.

“We are in the midst of one of the greatest national crises in our country’s history,” Minnis said in a Wednesday press conference. “No effort or resources will be held back.”

“Only a few specialized people can declare the death of the bodies found and until they are confirmed they cannot be included in the official count,” said Health Minister Duane Sands on Wednesday, adding, “I know it may seem ridiculous to many, but if done differently it could have legal and insurance consequences.” 

The minister explained that the government’s priority is to rescue and give urgent assistance to the elderly and the sick, who are being transferred to the nation’s less-affected islands.

Sands said that “he had never lived through anything like it” and does not want to “see more of it in the future.”

Aid for hurricane survivors, which has practically pulverized Grand Bahama and Abacus, is coming not only from the U.S., Britain and Canada, but also from neighboring countries and the tourism sector.

Melanie Roach of the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) said Thursday that 100 people have been rescued in Abacus and that work is currently being done to clear the roads in Grand Bahama.

The private tourism sector, which is very important for the Bahamas, such as the Bahamas Association of Tourist Hotels, the Sandals Foundation – a chain dedicated to luxury tourism – and cruise lines, among many others, are all donating basic necessities to the government.

Singers Rihanna and Lenny Kravitz, are also helping to raise funds for those affected by Dorian in the Bahamas.

https://www.telesurenglish.net/news/Dorian-Death-Toll-in-Bahamas-Rises-to-30-Government-20190905-0022.html

Bahamas devastated as hurricane kills 20

STUNNED residents of the Bahamas surveyed the wreckage of their homes and officials struggled to assess the number of people killed by Hurricane Dorian, as the storm bore down on the South Carolina coast, threatening record flooding yesterday.

The United Nations said 70,000 people in the Bahamas needed immediate humanitarian relief after the most damaging storm ever to hit the island nation.

Aerial video of the worst-hit Abaco Islands in the northern Bahamas showed widespread devastation, with the harbor, shops, workplaces, a hospital and airport landing strips damaged or decimated, frustrating rescue efforts.

One of the most powerful Caribbean storms on record, Dorian was rated a Category 5 hurricane when it killed at least 20 people in the Bahamas. Authorities expect that number to rise, Prime Minister Hubert Minnis said at a news briefing, as retreating floodwaters revealed the scope of destruction.

“My island of Abaco, everything is gone. No banks, no stores, no nothing,” said Marsh Harbour resident, Ramond A. King as he surveyed the wreckage of his home, which had its roof ripped off and debris scattered throughout. “Everything is gone, just bodies.”

With telephones down in many areas, residents posted lists of missing loved ones on social media. One Facebook post by media outlet Our News Bahamas had 2,500 comments, mainly listing lost family members.

Dorian killed one person in Puerto Rico before hovering over the Bahamas for two days with torrential rains and fierce winds that whipped up 3.7- to 5.5-meter storm surges.

South Carolina was preparing for a record storm surge, potentially reaching a height of 2 meters at the popular vacation destination of Myrtle Beach, the US National Hurricane Center said in an advisory.

The storm was located about 115km south-southeast of Charleston, South Carolina, at 8am yesterday and was headed north-northeast at about 13kph, the NHC said. It was packing 185kph winds.

About 30cm of rain will drop on flood-prone Charleston and many parts of the coasts of the Carolinas for two days, said Bob Oravec, a forecaster with the National Weather Service’s Weather Prediction Center in College Park, Maryland.

“It’s pretty substantial,” he said early yesterday. “It’s already raining heavy in Charleston and up and down the coast.”

More than 185,000 homes and businesses were without power along the South Carolina and Georgia coastal areas, according to the tracking site poweroutage.us.

The streets of downtown Charleston were all but deserted early yesterday as driving rain and strong winds lashed the city.

On South Battery Street, a block away from the water, Brys Stephens and his family worked hard to keep the water away from a large gray home with white verandas along the front, the type of home that has made Charleston famous and is a major tourist draw. He was working to reattach metal flood gates to a sturdy high wall fronting the property.

“The gates worked pretty well so far and we’ve managed to keep water away from the house,” Stephens said. “But we’ve got another storm surge coming later on, so we’ll see then if it holds.”

The NHC’s storm surge warning covered parts of the coasts of Georgia, South Carolina and North Carolina stretching from the Savannah River and extending to southern Virginia.

More than 2.2 million people in Florida, Georgia, North Carolina and South Carolina have been ordered to evacuate, although Florida has avoided a direct hit.

An international relief effort was underway for the Bahamas, with a British Royal Navy vessel providing assistance and Jamaica sending a 150-member military contingent to help secure Abaco and Grand Bahama, officials said.

Volunteers also ferried supplies to the islands in a flotilla of small boats. “Let us give of our best in this moment of historic tragedy,” Minnis said.

https://archive.shine.cn/world/Bahamas-devastated-as-hurricane-kills-20/shdaily.shtml

Hurricane Dorian triggers ‘national crisis’ in Bahamas

THE slow-moving hurricane that hit the Bahamas with winds of 185 mph this week has been described as “an unimaginable living nightmare”.

Bishop Theophilus Rolle, President of the Bahamas, Turks and Caicos Islands Conference of the Methodist Church, said that Hurricane Dorian had caused massive flooding and devastation. Seven people are so far known to have died, but the number is expected to rise.

Many people had left their homes to shelter in churches and community centres. Hundreds of photos of people believed to be missing after the hurricane have been posted on social media by friends and family.

Bishop Rolle told the World Council of Churches: “Hurricane Dorian has been an unimaginable living nightmare for many people; especially the 7,300 people living in Grand Bahama and Abaco in the northern Bahamas.”

He said the island of Abaco — where all the deaths so far have been recorded —was “almost demolished” by the winds, which were the highest ever to make landfall.

“Without question, the Bahamas is facing the unfolding of a national crisis. We will need tremendous help from our neighbours in the Caribbean region, the US, Canada, the United Kingdom, Europe and around the world.”

Prime Minister Hubert Minnis said that some areas had been “decimated” and described Dorian’s destruction as “one of the greatest national crises in our country’s history”.

The first images from helicopters taken after the hurricane showed lakes of water and debris, with very little left standing.

“Its total devastation. Its decimated. Apocalyptic,” Lia Head-Rigby, who runs a local hurricane relief organisation, told the Associated Press.

The International Red Cross fears that 45 per cent of homes on Grand Bahama and the Abacos — 13,000 properties — have been severely damaged or destroyed. At least 60,000 people will need food aid and clean water, UN officials say, but airports are under metres of water, and no aid is yet able to get through.

Radio stations reported receiving thousands of distress messages from residents, including one of a five-month-old baby stranded on a roof, and a woman and her six grandchildren who had cut a hole in a roof to escape floodwaters.

Hurricane Dorian has been unusually slow-moving, sitting for two days over the Bahamas, which has allowed it to cause extensive damage. It finally left the country on Tuesday afternoon to edge its way to the US coastline, where communities have been boarding up homes and churches and evacuating vulnerable areas. One church in Georgia has taken in 40 health-care workers with their elderly patients, from a nursing home in a low-lying coastal area that had to be evacuated.

A hurricane relief fund has been set up by the Episcopal Relief and Development agency to help the Bahamas, and Episcopalian bishops along the south coast of the US are urging congregations to donate.

https://www.churchtimes.co.uk/articles/2019/6-september/news/world/hurricane-dorian-triggers-national-crisis-in-bahamas