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Hurricane Dorian death toll jumps to 20 in Bahamas


George Bolter, left, and his parents walk through the remains of his home destroyed by Hurricane Dorian in the Pine Bay neighborhood of Freeport, Bahamas on Wednesday. (Ramon Espinosa/AP)

The estimated death toll in the Bahamas from Hurricane Dorian jumped from seven to 20 on Wednesday, Health Minister Duane Sands told the Miami Herald.

The new estimate came as relief and rescue crews began a wider assessment of Grand Bahamas, the Abacos and other surrounding islands.

Bahamas Prime Minister Hubert Minnis said Dorian, which stalled over the islands for several days as a Category 5, is “the greatest national crisis in our country’s history.” It’s the strongest hurricane on record to hit the country.

At 7 p.m, Dorian was moving north-northwest off the Georgia coast at around 8 mph as a Category 2 storm. It has maximum sustained wind speeds of 110 mph.

Sustained winds of 45 mph and a gust of 56 mph were recorded at Folly Beach Pier, which is just south of Charleston, S.C., around 6 p.m. Wednesday night.

The center of Dorian is expected to approached the coast of South Carolina Wednesday night and move near or over the coast of South Carolina on Thursday. It should move near or over the coast of North Carolina Thursday night and Friday.

An 85-year-old man in North Carolina died while preparing his home for the storm. Gov Roy Cooper said the Columbus County man fell from a ladder.

In the Bahamas, Prime Minister Minnis said at a press conference on Tuesday that 60% of homes in Marsh Harbor were damaged and at least one community was destroyed by Dorian.

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One resident in Freeport, Bahamas, told The Associated Press he felt “like Job” from the Bible while surveying his destroyed property.

“We planted those trees ourselves. Everything has a memory now, you know?” Alem said. “It’s so, so sad . . . In the Bible there is a person called Job, and I feel like Job right now. He lost everything, but his faith kept him strong.”

With News Wire Services