The devastating hurricane "Dorian" has claimed 20 lives in the Bahamas so far. Health Minister Duane Sands told several media outlets. But it probably will not stay with the number. Search and rescue operations have just started, Sanders added. It is expected that the number of victims will increase. Prime Minister Hubert Minnis had said on Tuesday that at least seven people have died.
Sands explained that at least 17 people died on the island of Abaco, so three people died in Grand Bahama. Three of the victims died after being taken to a hospital on New Providence. Sands could not provide more information at this time, as the government is still working to establish contact with the families.
Natural disaster - devastation in the Bahamas after cyclone Dorian At least seven people have died from hurricane Dorian. With wind speeds of 320 kilometers per hour, the storm devastated the Bahamas. © Photo: Coast Guard Air Station Clearwater / US Coast Guard / Handout via Reuters
Trump and UN secure help too
During a telephone conversation with Prime Minister Hubert Minnis, US President Donald Trump pledged support. He assured the Bahamas government "all reasonable help" from the US. He also expressed his condolences to the statesman for the victims and for the "catastrophic destruction" caused by the cyclone, as the White House announced. Trump and Minnis wanted to stay in touch to ensure the most efficient help possible.
According to the UN, about 70,000 people in the Bahamas need "immediate help". People needed food, water, shelter and medicines, said UN Humanitarian Affairs Chief Mark Lowcock on a short visit to the Bahamas. The United Nations provided emergency aid of one million dollars (900,000 euros).
Many are in shock after the hurricane
Many people in the Bahamas were in shock when they came out of their shelters. George Bolter stood in his community in the brilliant sunshine, surveying the ruins of what once was his house. He picked up debris in search of anything worth saving. All he had left was a few walls. "I lost everything," he said. "I've lost all of my baby's clothes, my son's clothes, we have no where to stay, nowhere to live."
The Bahamas government sent hundreds of police and marines to the hit islands, along with doctors, nurses and other health workers. They tried to reach the soaked and stunned storm victims and get an overview of the disaster. "At the moment, there are just a lot of unknowns," said Iram Lewis, a member of parliament. "We need help."
The US Coast Guard, the British Royal Navy and aid agencies such as the Red Cross tried to bring food and medicines to the survivors as quickly as possible. The US government also sent search and rescue teams.
"Dorian" hit Abaco on Saturday as a Category 5 hurricane and stayed for a day and a half as a Category 4 hurricane over Grand Bahama. Both islands are located in the north of the Bahamas in the Caribbean.