As recovery teams make their way to the hardest hit islands in the Bahamas, the death toll from Hurricane Dorian‘s strike on the archipelago has risen to 20.
Prime Minister Hubert Minnis says the death toll was expected to rise as storm rescue workers scour islands.
The Bahamian government sent hundreds of police and marines into the stricken islands, along with doctors, nurses and other health care workers. The U.S. Coast Guard, Britain’s Royal Navy and relief organizations including the United Nations and the Red Cross joined the growing effort to rush food and medicine to survivors and lift the most desperate people to safety by helicopter.
“We are seeing bravery and fortitude of Bahamians who endured hours and days of horror,” Minnis said. “Our urgent task will be to provide food, water, shelter and safety and security.”
Dr. Duane Sands, Bahamas’ minister of health, echoed the prime minister’s prediction of more casualties, telling MSNBC on Thursday that the government expects the death toll to “increase significantly.”
Sands also said 80 people with injuries were evacuated from the island of Abaco and five or six from Grand Bahama island. He said injuries ranged from broken bones to head injuries to “maternity-based issues.” Sands said some among the dead had succumbed to their injuries after being evacuated.
Dorian, with Category-5 winds of 185 mph when it slammed into the island chain Sunday, is the strongest hurricane to make landfall in the Atlantic basin since 1935. Worse, rescues efforts were hampered as Dorian’s forward movement stalled, leaving it to grind in place for hours instead of moving back over open ocean.
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SOURCE: USA Today, Doug Stanglin and Trevor Hughes