Bahamas death toll at 23 in wake of Dorian
A handout photo made available by the US Coast Guard shows an aerial view of damaged structures in the Bahamas, Sep. 3, 2019, seen from a Coast Guard Elizabeth City C-130 aircraft after Hurricane Dorian shifted north. EPA-EFE FILE/PO2 ADAM STANTON/US COAST GUARD HANDOUT EDITORIAL USE ONLY/NO SALES
A handout image made available 03 September 2019 by Coast Guard Air Station Clearwater forward-deployed four MH-60 Jayhawk helicopter crew in support of search and rescue and humanitarian aid in the Bahamas, showing damaged buildings amid heavy rain at a unidentified airport at the Bahamas after hurricane Dorian hit the islands, Sep. 2, 2019. EPA-EFE FILE/Petty Officer 3rd Class HUNTER MEDLEY/US COAST GUARD HANDOUT EDITORIAL USE ONLY
A handout aerial view taken by Coast Guard Air Station Clearwater forward-deployed four MH-60 Jayhawk helicopter crew in support of search and rescue and humanitarian aid in the Bahamas, Sep. 2, 2019, showing heavy flooding in low lying areas at the Bahamas after hurricane Dorian hit the islands. EPA-EFE FILE/Petty Officer 3rd Class HUNTER MEDLEY/US COAST GUARD HANDOUT EDITORIAL USE ONLY
San Juan, Sep 5 (efe-epa).- The death toll in the Bahamas from Hurricane Dorian rose on Thursday to 23 after three bodies were found on Grand Bahama and Abacos Island, Health Minister Duane Sands announced.
After delivering the new official tally of storm victims, the minister emphasized that the death toll will rise "much higher" than 23.
In addition, he said that the death toll is still at 23 because only a few people are qualified to officially pronounce dead the people whose bodies are being found, and until the deaths are officially confirmed they cannot be added to the list of victims.
He said he knew that it might seem ridiculous to many people but if the procedure for declaring a person dead is not scrupulously followed it could have legal and insurance consequences.
Sands, who did not provide any details about where the three bodies were found, said that specialized personnel will be sent to both islands to embalm the dead at the scene, and refrigerated containers would be provided to preserve the remains, which - he said - are beginning to run out.
He also said that the priority at present is to rescue and provide urgent assistance to the elderly and the sick, who are being transferred to islands in the archipelago that were not devastated by the storm, which struck parts of the Bahamas as a Category 5 hurricane, the most powerful on the five-level scale.
Meanwhile, Sands said that the country had never experienced a catastrophe of this kind, adding that he never wants to see another such event.
Aid to hurricane survivors is coming not only from various governments, including those of the United States, the United Kingdom and Canada, but also from neighboring countries, as well as from the tourism sector.
Melanie Roach, with the National Emergency Management Agency, said Thursday that about 100 people had been rescued on Abaco and that right now authorities are working to clear the roadways on Grand Bahama Island, which are covered with debris.
The private tourism sector, which is very important for the economy of the Bahamas, is also donating vital materials and supplies, including the Bahamas Hotel and Tourism Association, the Sandals Foundation - a luxury tourism chain - and various cruise lines, among others.
The problem continues to be getting aid to the entire area because of the closure of maritime ports on both islands, as well as the destruction of the airports.
The aid is being supplied and rescue efforts are under way using helicopters that are touching down at improvised landing sites such as baseball fields.
Pop singer Rihanna, who is from Barbados, as well as other well-known celebrities such as singer Lenny Kravitz have added their voices to the efforts to collect money for the beleaguered people of the Bahamas.
"Let's help The Bahamas. I donated to National Association of the Bahamas, @COREResponse & @WCKitchen," posted Kravitz on Twitter.
Meanwhile, the Bahamas Paradise Cruise line announced the dispatch of one of its vessels to the Bahamas loaded with aid.
The ship will set sail from Palm Beach, Florida, with food, water, supplies and volunteers, as well as aid personnel.
Official death toll in Bahamas from Hurricane Dorian rises to 20
San Juan, Sep 4 (efe-epa).- The official death toll in the Bahamas from Hurricane Dorian has risen from seven to 20, authorities said on Wednesday.
Seventeen of the fatalities were in the Abaco Islands where Dorian hit on Sunday and three were in Grand Bahama where it hit on Monday, Health Minister Duane Sands said.
Prime Minister Hubert Minnis, addressing a press conference, confirmed the deaths and said that the toll was expected to rise.
He also said that cases of looting and pillaging were taking place in the aftermath of the hurricane, and that forces would be deployed to restore law and order, and prosecute offenders.
Minnis underlined the resilience of his people, and said that international aid would begin to arrive on Friday from the United Kingdom, Jamaica and other neighboring countries, as well as the United States and Canada.
The White House reported on Wednesday that US President Donald Trump called Minnis to offer his condolences for the deaths and damage caused by Dorian and pledged assistance to help the affected areas to recover.
In addition, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said Wednesday that he had also spoken with Minnis and announced that he would grant economic aid to the Atlantic archipelago.
Rescue teams were continuing their work in the affected regions and the US Coast Guard and NGOs are working on the ground to bring food and medicine to survivors.
Bahamian National Security Minister Marvin Dames said that there are more than 600 police and Marines on Grand Bahama Island and nearly 100 in the Abaco Islands to assist with the rescue operation, according to local media.
Minnis, who surveyed Grand Bahama aboard a US Coast Guard helicopter, also announced that school classes would resume on Sep. 9 across the archipelago, except in the Abaco and Grand Bahama Islands.
He said the capital was operating at full capacity and pointed out that many parts of the country were unaffected by the hurricane, adding that the best way to help is for tourists to keep visiting. EFE-EPA