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Prime Minister Hubert Minnis says the official death toll on the Caribbean island from the Cat. 5 storm is at 30, but will continue to go up.
The number of dead in the Bahamas due to Hurricane Dorian last Thursday has grown to 30, announced Prime Minister Hubert Minnis during a Sept. 5 interview in which the leader reiterated that the official figure "will surely rise." The previous official number was 23 deceased.
Minnis also announced free flights will be available to those who want to leave as soon as airports are up and running.
During his CNN interview, the Bahamas leader said that the United States helped the island save lives. "f it had not been for the rapid arrival of aid from the United States, the death toll would be even higher and we would not have advanced so much in terms of aid distribution.”
He also said that he does not know when the flights will begin for people who are not elderly or sick, the first to be taken off the islands, but hopes it will be in "five days" and there will be free transfers to Nassau.
Minnis reported that the disaster experienced in both islands of the archipelago will be "devastating for a whole generation" and will take "a long time to overcome" the experience of the Category 5 storm.
The scope of the damage and humanitarian crisis was still unfolding as aerial video of the Abaco Islands in the northern Bahamas showed wide swaths of destruction. Aid agencies estimated that tens of thousands of people will still need food and other support.
“We are in the midst of one of the greatest national crises in our country’s history,” Minnis said in a Wednesday press conference. “No effort or resources will be held back.”
"Only a few specialized people can declare the death of the bodies found and until they are confirmed they cannot be included in the official count," said Health Minister Duane Sands on Wednesday, adding, "I know it may seem ridiculous to many, but if done differently it could have legal and insurance consequences."
The minister explained that the government’s priority is to rescue and give urgent assistance to the elderly and the sick, who are being transferred to the nation’s less-affected islands.
Sands said that "he had never lived through anything like it" and does not want to "see more of it in the future."
Aid for hurricane survivors, which has practically pulverized Grand Bahama and Abacus, is coming not only from the U.S., Britain and Canada, but also from neighboring countries and the tourism sector.
Melanie Roach of the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) said Thursday that 100 people have been rescued in Abacus and that work is currently being done to clear the roads in Grand Bahama.
The private tourism sector, which is very important for the Bahamas, such as the Bahamas Association of Tourist Hotels, the Sandals Foundation - a chain dedicated to luxury tourism - and cruise lines, among many others, are all donating basic necessities to the government.
Singers Rihanna and Lenny Kravitz, are also helping to raise funds for those affected by Dorian in the Bahamas.