Hurricane Dorian’s death toll in the Bahamas climbed to 50 on Monday as more deaths were reported from the storm that plowed through the country last week, officials said.
Health Minister Duane Sands confirmed the latest death count, up from 44 on Sunday, to NBC News.
Forty-two bodies have been found in Abaco and eight recovered on Grand Bahama, said Anthony Ferguson, commissioner of Royal Bahamas Police Force.
Thousands of people remain missing, and relief efforts were underway on the battered islands.
“The situation is pretty dire here,” college student Kristoff Strachan on Grand Bahama told MSNBC by phone over the weekend. “It’s just a lot of people trying to get out.”
Rescue workers were going door to door and U.S. Coast Guard helicopters were evacuating critically injured residents.
A Bahamas cruise ship ferried more than 1,100 Bahamians to the United States, and Customs and Border Protection delivered food and water by helicopter. The U.S. president on Monday dismissed the idea of allowing Bahamians into the U.S. after the storm, not long after the acting CBP chief said it was worth considering.
On Great Abaco, the storm’s devastation was evident in wrecked boats, flattened homes and downed power lines.
At an airport in Marsh Harbour, dozens of Haitian refugees were boarding a Delta flight to the Bahamas capital, Nassau, on Sunday morning. Many had fled their native island after the 2010 earthquake, settling in a hard-hit Marsh Harbour neighborhood known as “the Mudd.”
“These clothes on me — that’s all I have,” one migrant, Joseph Farine, 69, told NBC News. “Everything’s gone.”
The slow-moving Category 5 storm had 185 mph maximum sustained winds, gusts that topped 200 mph and a storm surge that reached nearly two-dozen feet.
The most powerful hurricane on record to strike the Bahamas, Dorian made a direct hit on the Abaco Islands and Grand Bahama.
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