Sunday, 22 September, 2019

After inflicting `extreme damage` on Bahamas, Hurricane Dorian on path to Florida

An image of Hurricane Dorian taken from the International Space Station on Monday September An image of Hurricane Dorian taken from the International Space Station on Monday September
Sandra Phillips | 04 September, 2019, 11:15

But UN experts were waiting for government clearance before assessing the situation on the ground, said OCHA spokesman Jens Laerke.

Abaco and Grand Bahama islands, with a combined population of about 70,000, are known for their marinas, golf courses and all-inclusive resorts.

He also said he expected the death toll to rise.

Bahamian Prime Minister Hubert Minnis said on Tuesday that at least five people died and 21 others were injured in Abaco as a result of the hurricane. "We know what your conditions are", Tammy Mitchell of the Bahamas' National Emergency Management Agency told ZNS Bahamas radio station.

In the Freeport area of Grand Bahama island, people on jet skis and boats tried to rescue hundreds of people whose homes had flooded on the low-lying island, a CNN correspondent said.

And although it had weakened to a Category 3 storm, it warned: "Devastating winds and storm surge will continue to affect Grand Bahama Island for several more hours".

Personnel from the 45th Space Wing of the U.S. Air Force, which is headquartered at nearby Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, are also on hand at NASA's Launch Control Center for the hurricane.

Most of the other badly hit island - Grand Bahama, home to about 50,000 people - has still to be reached.

Minnis said many homes and buildings were severely damaged or destroyed, but it was too early to say how much the rebuilding effort would cost.

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Aerial video recorded over the Bahamas' Great Abaco Island showed stretches of flooded neighbourhoods, pulverised buildings, upturned boats and shipping containers scattered.

"We don't want people thinking we've forgotten them".

Forecasters said it would come "dangerously close" in the next 36 hours to Florida's east coast, where more than a million people have been ordered to evacuate.

"What we are hearing lends credence to the fact that this has been a catastrophic storm and a catastrophic impact", Cochrane said.

"We are hoping and praying that the loss of life is limited", he said.

Over 2 million people along the coast in Florida, Georgia and North and SC were warned to evacuate.

Dorian, which killed one person in Puerto Rico before bashing into the Bahamas on Sunday, is tied for the second-strongest Atlantic storm to make landfall with Gilbert (1988), Wilma (2005) and the 1935 Labor Day hurricane. Dorian could drive seawater inland as it approaches, with parts of the northern Florida and Georgia coasts seeing as much as 7 feet (2 m), said NHC Director Ken Graham. While the threat of a direct hit on Florida had all but evaporated, Dorian was expected to pass dangerously close to Georgia and SC - and perhaps strike North Carolina - on August 5 or August 6. The UN says nearly all will need food aid and clean water.

A hurricane watch was in effect for Florida's East Coast from Deerfield Beach north to South Santee River in SC.

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