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.