The death toll of Hurricane Dorian in the Bahamas is at least 20 people with officials certain the number will rise, the prime minister, Hubert Minnis, announced as he declared a “historic tragedy” on the archipelago.
Mr Minnis also warned of reports of looting on the Abaco Islands, a northern band of islands in the Bahamas hardest hit by Dorian, which pummelled the area as a slow moving category 5 hurricane last week.
Mr Minnis, who had returned from a flyover of the Abacos, warned of “generational devastation” in the northern region of the Bahamas that also includes Grand Bahama, the archipelago’s northernmost island.
Large parts of the Abaco Islands have remained inaccessible to rescue crews, who continue to prioritise emergency evacuations, meaning the full scale of devastation caused by the hurricane is still not completely clear.
Mark Lowcock, the United Nations under-secretary-general for humanitarian affairs and emergency relief coordinator, said that the agency estimates around 70,000 people in the northern Bahamas remain in need of relief assistance.
Many countries in the Caribbean have sent help through supplies, cash and services. Royal Caribbean Cruises has delivered tens of thousands of meals and other supplies to Bahamian residents affected by Dorian. Royal Caribbean Cruises CEO Richard Fain said the devastation left by Dorian in the northern Bahamas is breath-taking.
"It's hard to appreciate - those of us in Miami are used to seeing hurricanes. We get them for a few hours," he said. "But on Grand Bahama, that storm just sat over them without moving for 38 hours."