NASSAU, The Bahamas, Thursday September 5, 2019 – As authorities had warned, the death toll from Hurricane Dorian is on the rise, with confirmed fatalities yesterday increasing to 20.
Prime Minister Dr Hubert Minnis, who a day earlier said the deaths stood at seven, told a press conference last night the number had risen again, even as he reiterated that he expected a further increase.
“We will update the public as soon as we have accurate information. I ask you to pray for the families and loved ones of the deceased,” he said as he addressed the nation following an aerial tour of Grand Bahama.
As the days progress, a clearer picture is emerging of the death and destruction which Dorian caused when it made landfall first in Abaco as a Category 5 hurricane with 185 mile-per-hour winds and gusts as high as 200 miles per hour, then slowly moved over Grand Bahama where it remained stationary for hours.
Minnis said many people were trapped in what was left of their homes and some were still in shelters.
“There are many on Grand Bahama who are suffering and…there have been 20 confirmed deaths on Abaco. We expect that this number will increase,” the Prime Minister said as he lamented the “generational devastation” wrought by Hurricane Dorian.
He also addressed reports of looting on Abaco, warning that those caught would feel the full weight of the law.
“Bahamians are distressed that anyone would loot and further the suffering of those affected by this tragedy. This is a terrible disregard for the safety and security of others. Be warned: we will prosecute looters and other law breakers to the full extent of the law. We are a country of laws,” the Bahamian leader said.
He added that to reinforce security on the islands, additional police and defence officers have already been deployed.
“There are approximately 60 Royal Bahamas Police Force officers permanently stationed on Abaco. Quite a number of these officers have lost their homes, yet they are acting with resolve and with bravery in the performance of their duties. They have been working nonstop before and after the devastation of Hurricane Dorian. We will be deploying sufficient officers to maintain the peace and to provide for general law and order,” Minnis said.