Around 2,500 people are feared missing in the Bahamas in the wake of devastating Hurricane Dorian, a number that may include people who fled to shelters around the Caribbean island chain, Reuters reports, citing local authorities.
More than a week after the top-of-scale Category 5 hurricane ravaged Great Abaco Island, Freeport and other parts of the tourism-dependent country, the number of those officially registered as missing was another sign the storm’s death toll may rise significantly over the 50 reported so far.
“This list has not yet been checked against government records of who are staying in shelters or who have been evacuated,” National Emergency Management Agency spokesman Carl Smith told a news conference on Wednesday. “The database processing is underway.”
Thousands of people are in shelters on the islands and officials have warned the number of dead is likely to rise substantially.
People all over Nassau are still searching for friends and family they have not seen since the storm.
Dorian slammed into the Bahamas over a week ago as one of the strongest Atlantic hurricanes on record, packing top sustained winds of 185 miles (298 kilometers) per hour.
Smith said more than 5,000 people had evacuated to New Providence, the island where the capital Nassau is located, but that there had been a “significant reduction” in the number of people now asking to be relocated.
Commercial flights to Abaco, one of the hardest-hit areas, were due to resume on Wednesday on a limited basis, officials said.
Some 15,000 people are still in need of shelter or food, according to the Caribbean Disaster Emergency Management Agency.
Private forecasters estimated that Dorian destroyed or damaged some US$3 billion in insured property in the Caribbean.
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