Hurricane Dorian death toll rises to 20 as US prepares for storm

5 September 2019, 16:45

Hurricane Dorian has left thousands needing help in the Bahamas
Hurricane Dorian has left thousands needing help in the Bahamas. Picture: PA
Nick Hardinges

By Nick Hardinges

Hurricane Dorian has so-far claimed 20 lives, with more fatalities expected as the category three storm begins to lash the USA.

Bahamian Prime Minister Hubert Minnis has warned of "generational devastation" as the aftermath revealed the true devastation.

The number of fatalities is expected to rise as many parts of the islands remain inaccessible to rescue crews.

Around 70,000 people are still in need of relief assistance.

17 of the hurricane's victims came from the Abaco Islands which were hit hardest on Sunday when the storm was ranked as a category five, the strongest possible level.

The remaining three came from Grand Bahama which was devastated by category four winds for a day and a half.

Reports are beginning to surface of the damage also being caused in the US as floods hit Charleston, South Carolina, with more than 200,000 power outages being reported across the state.

Around 70,000 people are expected to require relief assistance
Around 70,000 people are expected to require relief assistance. Picture: PA

Mr Minnis told a press conference late on Wednesday that "many families have been deeply impacted" by the catastrophic storm.

He said: "We ask you to pray for the families and loved ones of the deceased,” shortly after returning from a flyover of the Abacos.

Homes, roads and businesses were all destroyed in the Bahamas with high waters, flooding and looting all still an issue, according to those who were evacuated.

Bob Cornea, who was one of those caught up in the storm, told a reporter how he and his wife were forced to take shelter on the second storey of their son's house.

He said: "Water was up to my neck. It stayed like that for two or three hours... My son... he got us out and we got over to safety.

"We've been through all kinds of hurricanes, all kinds of storms: never anything that bad. I mean, it was like we were standing in the middle of the ocean. That's what it looked like. Waves, the water just crashing in over us. Horrifying. Absolutely horrifying."

Hurrican Dorian is expected to cause damage to US towns and cities and could be a threat to life
Hurrican Dorian is expected to cause damage to US towns and cities and could be a threat to life. Picture: PA

The Royal Navy has begun launching operations to help deliver aid to families and communities in the country.

A Royal Fleet Auxiliary landing ship has been sent to work alongside the Royal Bahamas Defence Force, delivering shelter kits, water and other essentials to the island of Great Abaco.

Captain Rob Anders, commanding officer of RFA Mounts Bay, said: "I am pleased to be able to use our people and equipment to send water and food ashore to provide aid to the Bahamian people.

"We hope that our presence in the area in the immediate aftermath of Hurricane Dorian will provide some peace of mind and reassurance to all those affected."

With the worst of the weather now expected to be behind the devastated country, Hurricane Dorian began its journey closer to the USA and initially weakened to a category two storm.

US authorities have been preparing residents for a potential catastrophe
US authorities have been preparing residents for a potential catastrophe. Picture: PA

However in approaching US shores wind speeds have sped up, moving the storm back up to a category three as coastal towns and cities brace themselves for destruction.

More than 1,500 people have taken refuge across 28 shelters in the port city of Charleston, South Carolina with 115mph winds also expected to lash low-lying coasts of Georgia and North Carolina.

Store and restaurant owners have boarded up their businesses with wood and corrugated metal in the city's central area, and about 830,000 people were under mandatory evacuation orders on the South Carolina coast.

On Tybee Island, Georgia, just outside of Savannah, Debbie and Tony Pagan stacked beds, couches and sandbags to block doors before evacuating.

Their home flooded during Hurricane Matthew in 2016 and Irma in 2017, and with it still being relatively early in this year's hurricane season they are fearing for the worst.

"It's a terrible way to live," Debbie Pagan said.

"We have the whole month of September and October to go. How would you like to be living on pins and needles?"

Satellite images of Dorian show the size and scale of the storm and NASA have kept a close eye on its path.

Astronaut Nick Hague tweeted saying: "You can feel the power of the storm when you stare into its eye from above. Stay safe everyone!"

Latest World News

See more Latest World News

North Korea has blamed its Covid outbreak on 'alien things' and balloons coming from South Korea.

North Korea blames Covid outbreak on 'alien things' and balloons from South

Boris Johnson said Putin does not have to give up power for there to be peace in Ukraine

Putin's made more than 30 nuke threats during Ukraine invasion, Boris tells LBC

Russian President Vladimir Putin has hit back at western leaders for their lack of "machismo" and said it would be ‘disgusting’ to see Boris Johnson topless.

Putin mocks G7 leaders' lack of 'machismo' and says PM would look 'disgusting' topless

Ukraine has retaken Snake Island after Moscow's troops abandoned the strategic outpost in what Russia's Defence Ministry has described as a 'goodwill gesture'.

'Kaboom!' Ukraine celebrates Putin's humiliation as Russia retreats from Snake Island

President Joe Biden listens as Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson speaks

Ketanji Brown Jackson to be sworn in as US Supreme Court justice

An investigator works outside the Bataclan concert hall (Christophe Ena/PA)

Life without parole for surviving extremist who carried out Paris attacks

A shark is seen swimming across a sand bar (Phil Marcelo/AP)

Great white sharks head to Cape Cod as busy tourist season gets under way

Police outside the Bataclan concert hall in Paris (Catherine Wylie/PA)

Men convicted of involvement in 2015 terror attacks in Paris

Salah Abdeslam is believed to be the only surviving member of the group that killed 130 people in the 2015 Paris attacks

Islamic State member found guilty of mass murder for 2015 Paris terror attacks

Vatican Pope Pelosi

Pro-choice Nancy Pelosi receives communion at Vatican despite home city ban

Workers clear debris at the Kremenchuk shopping centre damaged in the Russian rocket attack

Search ongoing for 20 missing after Russian strike on Ukraine shopping centre

People attend a community vigil for the dozens of people found dead in a trailer in San Antonio

‘Difficult process’ identifying Texas lorry trailer death victims – authorities

World Health Organisation chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus

US abortion ruling ‘a setback’ that will cost lives, says WHO chief

Dutch farmers protesting against government plans gather for a demonstration at Stroe

Dutch PM condemns farmers’ protests at minister’s home

Cassidy Hutchinson, former aide to Trump White House chief of staff Mark Meadows, is sworn in by committee chairman Bennie Thompson

Trump dismissed January 6 threats and wanted to join crowd, says former aide

India Killing

Hindu tailor killed in cleaver attack amid religious tensions in India