Hurricane Dorian devastation - in pictures
At least 50 people confirmed dead and thousands more missing
The death toll from Hurricane Dorian has risen to 50 in the Bahamas, with thousands more people still missing after the storm pummelled the archipelago last week.
Health Minister Duane Sands confirmed the latest death count, up from 44 on Sunday, reports US network NBC News. The bodies of 42 people have been recovered from Abaco Island, and eight more found on Grand Bahama, said Anthony Ferguson, commissioner of Royal Bahamas Police Force.
Officials fear that hundreds more victims are hidden in the rubble of buildings flattened after Dorian struck islands in the northwest Bahamas last Sunday as a Category 5 hurricane, with winds reaching 185mph (295km/h), says the BBC.
The storm was the most powerful to hit the Bahamas since records began and stalled over the region for almost two days, intensifying the devastation.
An estimated 13,000 homes were destroyed or severely damaged as wind, rain and surging winds battered the islands, with Abaco and Grand Bahama hardest hit. Around 70,000 people are in need of urgent aid, according to United Nations officials.
Darren Tosh of aid group Samaritan’s Purse told the BBC that there are also growing fears about the spread of disease from unsafe water, bodies and destroyed crops.
“There’s a horrible amount of disease that can develop after an event like this,” he said.
The US Coast Guard and Canadian military have joined in the recovery effort, and the US Customs and Border Protection chief yesterday suggested his country may allow Bahamian people to seek shelter there.
However, President Donald Trump subsequently appeared to rule out accepting hurricane refugees, saying: “We have to be very careful. Everybody needs totally proper documentation because the Bahamas had 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.”