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Hurricane Dorian death toll climbs to 43, expected to rise ‘significantly’

Prime News, International, (Marsh Harbour), (Bahamas), September 7:-The death toll from Hurricane Dorian’s devastating rampage across the Bahamas rose to 43 Friday, a number authorities said is likely to climb “significantly,” even as rescuers plucked desperate survivors from the debris.

More than 260 residents of brutally damaged Abaco Island arrived in the capital city of Nassau after spending more than seven hours on a government-chartered ferry, a second of which was expected to arrive overnight.

“Forty-three is the official count, many missing and this number is expected to grow significantly,” Erica Wells Cox, a spokeswoman for Prime Minister Hubert Minnis, told NBC News.

Thousands of people were left homeless on the islands of Grand Bahama and Abaco and many were becoming frustrated with the speed of relief and evacuation efforts.

According to UN relief officials, more than 70,000 people — virtually the entire population of Grand Bahama and Abaco — are in need of assistance after the storm reduced homes to matchsticks and destroyed people’s livelihoods.

The US Coast Guard and private organizations have been evacuating residents of Abaco and other islands to Nassau.

The multinational relief effort, which also includes Britain’s Royal Navy and several non-governmental organizations, has been hampered by flood damage to airport runways, destroyed piers and docks and downed communications.

Tents and awnings installed at Nassau Airport, not far from rescue planes taking off and landing, provided temporary housing for storm-battered Bahamians.

As survivors began the first steps in rebuilding their lives, arrangements were being made to take care of the dead and the Bahamian authorities were seeking to account for the missing.

Mortuary workers in white hazmat suits, blue gloves and masks could be seen in Marsh Harbour carrying corpses in green body bags and loading them onto flatbed trucks.

“As you know, in the United States, we weren’t hit nearly as hard as was thought but the Bahamas, you got hit very, very hard,” US President Donald Trump said in a video statement on Twitter.

“On behalf of the United States and the people of the United States, we’re working hard, we’re with you and God bless you,” he said.

“Any cruise ship companies willing to act as stationary housing, etc., I am sure would be appreciated!,” he also tweeted.

Dorian made landfall meanwhile in the United States as a Category 1 hurricane packing winds of nearly 90 miles per hour (150 kilometers per hour).

The Miami-based National Hurricane Centre (NHC) said the storm made landfall at Cape Hatteras on North Carolina’s Outer Banks, the finger-like barrier islands off the coast.

At 11:00 pm (0300 GMT Saturday), the NHC said Dorian was moving in a northeast direction up the Atlantic coast at 25 mph (41 kph) and was “heading for Nova Scotia in a hurry.” Hurricane-force winds were expected in portions of the Canadian province late Saturday after Dorian’s centre passes to the southeast of New England Saturday morning.

The Canadian Hurricane Centre issued a hurricane warning for central and eastern Nova Scotia.

-(NAV, Inputs: Agencies)

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