The number of people listed as missing in the Bahamas has dropped by almost half — to 1,300 — nearly two weeks after Hurricane Dorian smashed thousands of homes on two of the country’s paradisiacal islands.
Carl Smith, a spokesman for the Bahamas National Emergency Management Agency, updated the tally at a briefing with reporters on Thursday, just a day after officials said as many as 2,500 were feared missing.
Authorities had cautioned this week that the number would shrink as they cross-check the names with people who evacuated or stayed in emergency shelters.
The official death toll, meanwhile, remained at 50 but is expected to significantly rise as search-and-rescue crews continue to clear the wreckage.
Most of the damage from the Category 5 storm was on country’s Grand Bahama and Abaco islands, where thousands of people are still without electricity, food and water.
Dorian hit the Bahamas on Sept. 1 when it was at its strongest, with 185 mph winds and even heavier wind gusts, and dumped as much as 35 inches of rain in some parts of the country.
Bahamian Prime Minister Hubert Minnis called the slow-moving storm “a historic tragedy.”
I visited North Abaco and the cays yesterday with opposition deputy leader I. Chester Cooper and Christian Council president Bishop Delton Fernander. I want to assure residents that we will do everything possible in as short a time as possible to restore your communities. pic.twitter.com/N4DpmmOYCR
U.N. Secretary-General António Guterres announced Thursday he is flying to the Bahamas this weekend to express “deep solidarity” with the hurricane victims and to raise awareness of the need for international help.
A preliminary report estimates Dorian caused about $7 billion in damage.
With News Wire Services