Hurricane Dorian hovered over the Bahamas on Sunday night and on Monday, unleashing heavy flooding and 200mph (320km/h) winds.
Bahamian Prime Minister Hubert Minnis confirmed Monday, during a press conference, that the death toll from Hurricane Dorian rose to five people, adding his country is in the midst of “a historic tragedy.”
Authorities had confirmed earlier the death of a seven-year-old boy, but the identities of the four others are still unknown.
“We are going to be very careful about reporting such information,” Minnis said. “It should only come from the official channels and be verified by the Royal Bahama Police Force.”
The premier added there have been 21 reported injuries and five among them are very serious.
As the devastation from Hurricane Dorian is starting to be assessed, the United States Coast Guard landed in the northern Bahamas island of Abaco on Monday. They have already helped a number of injured people, but Bahamian emergency teams could not reach many of them in need because of extremely difficult weather conditions with intense winds of up to 320 km per hour.
“Hurricane Dorian is still battering Grand Bahama Island and will remain there for many many hours,” Minnis said. “We will provide relief and assistance as soon as possible once the Met Department has given the all-clear.”
The hurricane hovered over the Bahamas on Sunday night and on Monday, unleashing heavy flooding and 200mph (320km/h) winds that pulverized houses and left innumerable residents homeless.
As many as 13,000 homes in the Bahamas may have been destroyed or severely damaged, the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies said.
Houses in a neighborhood in Freeport on Grand Bahama Island were engulfed by 6 feet (1.8 m) of water. “It looks like there are boats on top of the water,” said Rosa Knowles-Bain, 61, a resident who fled two days ago to an emergency shelter.
The category 5 storm, which is the strongest ever to hit the Bahamas, has downgraded to a category 4 and is expected to concentrate over the islands throughout Monday night before it heads to central Florida coast by Tuesday morning local time.
Florida has evacuated hospitals, nursing homes, and assisted living facilities as well as prisons. The Orlando Airport will halt commercial flights starting 2:00 am Tuesday.