Hurricane Dorian has killed 23 people in the Bahamas so far, BBC reported on Thursday. However, according to Reuters, the toll has reached 30. The storm, which is slowly moving north along the sea around the eastern United States, has also left thousands of homes in the Caribbean archipelago without power.
There have been sustained winds of around 165 km per hour, down from about 185 km per hour earlier in the day. The hurricane hit the Bahamas on September 1, with wind speeds of up to 298 km per hour. The storm battered the Abacos and Grand Bahama area of the archipelago before moving eastward two days later.
More than 22 lakh people in the United States have been ordered to evacuate. In South Carolina, more than one lakh people were without power in coastal areas on Thursday morning. There has also been flooding in Charleston.
The programme manager for the NGO Direct Relief Luíz David Rodriguez said it was too early to properly assess the damage, The Guardian reported. “Everything is destroyed,” Rodriguez said, adding that much of the flooding had begun to subside.
“Lots of people are just laying around waiting to get off the island,” he added. “People are getting a little desperate.”
The United Nations has estimated that around 70,000 people in the island nation are in need of food, water and shelter. The United Nations World Food Programme said on Thursday that it was organising an airlift from Panama of storage units, generators and prefab offices for two logistics hubs, as well as satellite equipment for emergency responders. The agency’s senior spokesperson Hervé Verhoosel said it had allocated $5.4 million (Rs 38.74 crore) for a three-month aid programme for 39,000 people.
The Netherlands is sending two naval ships with supplies to the Bahamas, while Jamaica is sending a 150-member military contingent for relief efforts in Abacos and Grand Bahama.
“Let me say that I believe the number [of dead] will be staggering,” said the archipelago’s Health Minister Duane Sands. “I have never lived through anything like this and I don’t want to live through anything like this again.”
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