Bahamas’ count of missing people after Dorian drops to 1,300

The Bahamian government now believes there are 1,300 people missing after Hurricane Dorian plowed into the islands, a sharp decline from the 2,500 listed on the missing registry a day earlier, a government spokesperson said Thursday.

The Bahamas National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) on Wednesday had warned the larger figure could include people staying at shelters.

“The number of people registered missing with the Bahamas government is going down daily,” NEMA spokesperson Carl Smith told a news briefing.

The count fell after the government cross-referenced lists of people evacuated from hard-hit islands with its registry of missing people, Smith said.

The official death count currently stands at 50 but Bahamian Prime Minister Hubert Minnis on Wednesday warned he expects that to significantly increase. 

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres says he is flying to the Bahamas on Friday to express “deep solidarity” with its people and to raise awareness of the need for international assistance.

Guterres told reporters Thursday that the Category 5 hurricane, the worst-ever to hit the Bahamas, is “a clear illustration” of the impact of climate change along with cyclones in Mozambique, drought in the Sahel, fires in the Amazon and the Arctic, melting glaciers, and the bleaching of corals.

Two Dutch navy ships, meanwhile, have arrived in the Bahamas to help with the relief operation. The country’s defence ministry said about 550 military personnel who arrived Wednesday will deliver aid to people on the hard-hit Abaco islands.

People living in the devastated northern islands of the archipelago are piling up wreckage and some are burning ruined clothes.

A preliminary report estimates Dorian caused a total of some $ 7 billion US ($ 9 billion Cdn) in damage, although the government of the Bahamas has not yet offered any figures.

Wreckage from the storm can be seen in Marsh Harbour, Bahamas on Tuesday, a week after Hurricane Dorian struck. (Andrew Caballero/AFP/Getty Images)


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