HURRICANE Dorian has left 70,000 people in the Bahamas in need of food and shelter, with aid workers on the ground comparing the devastation to the aftermath of a nuclear blast.
The storm, whose winds reached 225mph, hit the region early last week, flattening buildings across the country’s islands and provoking huge tidal surges.
Hurricane Dorian has left 70,000 people in the Bahamas in need of food and shelter[/caption]
The storm has left many homeless and living in makeshift shelters[/caption]
An estimated 13,000 properties were destroyed by its 225mph winds[/caption]
The current death toll of 44 is expected to rise, with prime minister Hubert Minnis calling Dorian “one of the greatest national crises in our country’s history”.
A relief effort involving the US Coast Guard and Britain’s Royal Navy is now delivering aid to survivors, many of whom have lost everything they owned.
Medical evacuations are also being staged, as those trapped on the ground work with what resources they have to help the injured.
One man, Tepeto Davis, 37, told the BBC: “We’ve had to funnel gasoline out of destroyed cars to get injured people back and forth.
“There’s no food, no medicine and no water.”
Relief worker and helicopter pilot Seth Harris told Sky News: “I’ve seen a lot of damage and a lot of devastation, but I’ve never seen anything… to the extent that there was here.”
Search-and-rescue missions are now scouring the worst-hit communities for survivors, with hundreds confirmed to have been rescued so far.
Mark Green, head of the US Agency for International Development told Reuters that some areas looked like “nuclear bombs were dropped on them”.
A large relief effort is underway involving the US Coast Guard and the British Royal Navy[/caption]
Survivors have described having to move during the storm as buildings fell apart around them[/caption]
Many residents still don’t know whether their relatives have survived.
One survivor, Anna Aristine, said: “At this moment, I am talking to you, I don’t see my mum, I don’t see my son. I don’t know. I don’t know.”
Asked whether she thought more people had died than the current official toll, she said: “Plenty. Plenty Haitian, especially.”
Many of those who lived in the shanty towns now flattened were unofficial residents from Haiti.
A worker on a British aid ship said that a helicopter had discovered one group of people who had been cut off with no communications for five days.
Another survivor, Kirk Sawyer, said he had been trapped with a friend during the storm and hadn’t expected to survive.
“I told my friend, I said, ‘Hey, we’ve been friends for almost 40 years’,” he said.
“We ride together, we’re going to die together here.”
Food and medical aid is now being delivered to the worst-hit communities[/caption]
A man carries his belongings through the wreckage of destroyed buildings on Abaco Island[/caption]
Asked if he had a message for family who didn’t know whether he had survived, he said: “Y’all take care. He’s alive, he made it through this.
“So I’ll see you all soon. Thank you all for being concerned about me.
“Love you all.”
Evna Francois decided to leave her home when it began to fall apart.
She lost two fingers when a door slammed on her hand while she was saving her daughter.
She said that each time she moved to a different refuge – first a church, then another house – it would begin to fall apart in the storm.
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A third survivor said: “We are [planning] to move, but we don’t know where we can go.
“We don’t have no place to go. We don’t know what to do.”
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