HURRICANE Dorian, which yesterday continued to batter the Bahamas as a Category 4 storm, has claimed the life of an eight-year-old boy who was washed away in raging flood waters while he and his family were trying to get to higher ground. The boy's sister, who also disappeared in the water, is still missing and presumed dead.
Up to press time yesterday, at least five deaths were being blamed on the storm.
As the Bahamas reeled from the impact of the strongest storm the world has experienced this year, the Prime Minister contacted Bahamas Prime Minister Hubert Minnis to express this country's solidarity with the people of the Bahamas and to say TT is ready to lend a helping hand.
A press release issued by the Communications Ministry yesterday afternoon said, "Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley has been in touch with that country’s Prime Minister Hubert Minnis. He has been receiving updates and is in contact with the rest of Caricom about the situation."
The release added, "As has happened in the past, this country will demonstrate its compassion and willingness to help its Caricom neighbour. The prime minister is hoping for the best and his thoughts are with the affected families and people of Bahamas at this time."
Several NGOs also said they were awaiting an assessment of the damage before any decisions could be made on the type of aid or relief needed.
Most powerful storm this year
Dorian is said to have equalled the most powerful hurricane ever to hit the Bahamas, in 1935, and is the second most powerful ever recorded in the Atlantic. At present it has been downgraded to Category 4 from Category 5, the most powerful.
Dorian's first official victim was an eight-year-old boy who drowned as his family tried to escape raging floodwaters in Great Abaco on Sunday. His sister and several others are still missing in Great Abaco and Grand Bahama Island. The death toll could rise, as many people are still unaccounted for.
Packing sustained winds at 185 miles per hour with 220 miles per hour gusts, the storm remained yesterday over the Grand Bahama Island, east Freeport, and east of West Palm Beach, Florida.
The US National Hurricane Center (NHC) has warned that the dangers are “life threatening, as the storm surge was about 18-23 feet above normal tide levels. "This can lead to higher destructive waves.”
Residents were urged not leave their shelters when the eye passes over, as winds will rapidly increase on the other side.
The NHC said, “The lingering storm is also expected to bring multiple tornadoes in the coming days.” There were a recorded 38 tornadoes in Virginia after the passage of Hurricane Ivan in 2004.
Met office not sure where Dorian will go
TT meteorological officer Jean-Marc Rampersad said, “The storm is expected to pick up momentum while moving west, but there is a bit of uncertainty in the current track. The eastern coastline of Florida could still face catastrophic conditions.”
Videos posted on Facebook have shown massive floods, landslides, downed power lines, destroyed vehicles and infrastructural damage.
Bahamian Prime Minister Minnis, speaking with reporters even as Dorian continued to pound his country said, “This is probably the most sad and worst day of my life to address the Bahamian people. As a physician, I've been trained to withstand many things, but never anything like this." Minister of Tourism Dionisio D'Aguilar said, “We are very very frightened about potential loss of life.”
Hurricane Dorian was downsized from a category 5 to a category 4 storm as it made landfall over the Bahamas. The NHC said it is expected to redevelop into a category five again as it progresses toward the US.
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MORE CAL FLIGHTS CANCELLED
Caribbean Airlines cancelled several more flights because of the hurricane. The cancellations for September 2 are BW 414 from Kingston to Nassau and BW 415 from Nassau to Kingston,
Flights BW 484 from Port of Spain to Miami, BW 483 from Miami to Port of Spain, BW 480 from Port of Spain to Fort Lauderdale, BW 481 from Fort Lauderdale to Port of Spain, BW033 from Kingston to Fort Lauderdale, BW036 from Fort Lauderdale to Kingston, BW 482 from Port of Spain to Orlando and BW485 from Orlando to Port of Spain were cancelled for September 2-3.
CAL said customers should contact its offices for rebooking on the next available service and visit its website www.caribbean-airlines.com for more updates about its schedule.