Bahamas death toll rises to 20

The Min­is­ter of Health in the Ba­hamas, Dr Du­ane Sands has con­firmed that the death toll from Hur­ri­cane Do­ri­an now stands at 20, as at 6 pm yes­ter­day.

There were 17 deaths in Aba­co and three in Grand Ba­hama.

 

This is an in­crease of 13 over the pre­vi­ous day, which stood at sev­en.

The news came as more help from around the world has been pledged to the Ba­hamas fol­low­ing the dev­as­ta­tion caused by Hur­ri­cane Do­ri­an.

Cana­di­an Prime Min­is­ter Justin Trudeau post­ed to so­cial me­dia re­veal­ing some de­tails of his dis­cus­sion with Min­nis.

“I just spoke with Prime Min­is­ter Min­nis about the dev­as­ta­tion in the Ba­hamas caused by Hur­ri­cane Do­ri­an.

Cana­da stands ready to help the Ba­hami­an peo­ple and com­mu­ni­ties af­fect­ed by this dis­as­ter and has pledged US$500,000 in ini­tial emer­gency as­sis­tance,” he said.

The Am­bas­sador of the Peo­ple’s Re­pub­lic of Chi­na to the Ba­hamas, Huang Qin­guo do­nat­ed US$20,000 in goods on be­half of his coun­try for the vic­tims of Hur­ri­cane Do­ri­an.

The Roy­al Bank of Cana­da (RBC) al­so pledged US$75,000 ear­li­er in the day while Roy­al Caribbean Cruise line com­mit­ted US$1 mil­lion to the coun­try with their busi­ness part­ner ITM had pledged a fur­ther US$100,000.

In Trinidad and To­ba­go, more groups be­gan call­ing for do­na­tions for the is­land na­tion.

The me­te­o­ro­log­i­cal ser­vice for the Ba­hamas gave the coun­try the all-clear ear­ly on Wednes­day, paving the way for US search and res­cue teams to be­gin work in some of the most dev­as­tat­ed ar­eas of the Aba­co Is­lands and Grand Ba­hama.

While wait­ing on those teams to ar­rive, the US Coast Guard aid­ed the Roy­al Ba­hamas De­fense Force as they searched for sur­vivors in the se­vere­ly af­fect­ed is­lands of the Ba­hamas af­ter Hur­ri­cane Do­ri­an fi­nal­ly moved away from the na­tion.

For many, it was the first time they had seen the ex­tent of dev­as­ta­tion at ground lev­el at Aba­co and Grand Ba­hama.

Apoc­a­lyp­tic was a com­mon de­scrip­tion.

“It’s just a mess, it’s lots of de­bris. Homes are com­plete­ly gone. Those home that are not com­plete­ly gone sus­tained sub­stan­tial dam­age. There is no in­fra­struc­ture, no lights, no pow­er, no wa­ter. Gov­ern­ment of­fices are all com­plete­ly com­pro­mised or just in a state of peo­ple hov­er­ing around them or in­side them for shel­ter. We’re at a cri­sis lev­el now,” said Ba­hami­an Min­is­ter of Tourism, Dion­sio D’Aguilar.

He was hope­ful that the coun­try’s econ­o­my would bounce back soon as much of its tourism in­fra­struc­ture was still in­tact.

“The next cou­ple months we’ll start to dri­ve home that mes­sage that our econ­o­my is open. It’s af­fect­ed no doubt about it, but it’s open and it still op­er­ates in the oth­er is­lands which emerged rel­a­tive­ly un­scathed. Nas­sau is our cap­i­tal city where two-thirds of our pop­u­la­tion live and where the vast, the most sig­nif­i­cant por­tion of our tourism struc­ture re­side is un­af­fect­ed,” he said.

He urged how­ev­er that those pro­vid­ing aid are tact­ful in their ap­proach.

“I think what we need is a gen­tle touch or a soft ap­proach to be seen to be help­ing or as­sist­ing peo­ple to be seen to help­ing and as­sist­ing peo­ple. That’s what we want to use our mil­i­tary to do. Ob­vi­ous­ly, they do have to main­tain law and or­der and we un­der­stand that that is crit­i­cal we’re ob­vi­ous en­sur­ing that that hap­pens but we don’t want to con­vey the mes­sage that we are here too but a hard boot on the ground as op­posed to the soft touch I think the Ba­hami­an peo­ple need right now,”

 

Hours af­ter he made these state­ments, ru­mours emerged of vi­o­lence at Aba­co Is­land prompt­ing Min­is­ter of Na­tion­al Se­cu­ri­ty Mar­vin Dames, the Com­mis­sion­er of the Ba­hamas and Com­modore of the Roy­al Ba­hamas De­fense to have a per­son­al look at re­ports.

How the Unit­ed States Em­bassy would lat­er send out a re­lease re­fut­ing claims that there had been vi­o­lence against their of­fi­cers.

Lat­er, Long Is­land Mem­ber of Par­lia­ment, Adri­an Gib­son formed part of the team which car­ried sup­plies to Aba­co.

Many in­jured per­sons res­cued had to air­lift­ed to oth­er is­lands for med­ical care. Freeport Air­port, how­ev­er, was al­most com­plete­ly dec­i­mat­ed, leav­ing most to re­ly on US he­li­copters to take them to aid.

The coun­try is work­ing to­wards re­cov­ery as it was an­nounced that schools on all is­lands ex­cept Grand Ba­hama and Aba­co would re­sume next Mon­day.

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