Once the all-clear is given, The Bahamas is assured of assistance from Caribbean Community (CARICOM) sister nation, Barbados, Prime Minister Mia Mottley this evening declared.
And as soon as Government has a clear picture of the immediate needs of the Bahamian people, she announced that personnel and equipment from the Barbados Defence Force and the Barbados Coast Guard will be deployed to the northernmost Caribbean nation.
“The people of the Bahamas can rest assured that they are in our prayers, and that our resources, limited though they may be, will be deployed to help them through this most difficult time,” she said.
A tale of death, woe and unprecedented destruction is emerging in the Northern Bahamas with prime minister Dr Hubert Minnis this evening confirming at least five deaths from Dorian’s onslaught, even as the unrelenting Category Four system continued to pound Grand Bahama with its catastrophic winds and torrential rains.
He told the nation at a live news conference: “Thus far, the Royal Bahamas Police Force has confirmed that there are five deaths in Abaco.
“Teams will go to Abaco as soon as possible for a full and proper assessment and identification.”
It remains unclear how many people were injured. Minnis said 21 people were airlifted to New Providence and transported to the Princess Margaret Hospital in the capital, Nassau, 147 kilometres south of the stricken Abaco islands.
Prime Minister Minnis said: “The initial reports from Abaco is that the devastation is unprecedented and extensive.
“They are deeply worrying. The images and videos we are seeing are heartbreaking. Many homes, businesses and other buildings have been completely or partially destroyed.
“There is an extraordinary amount of flooding and damage to infrastructure.”
“We are in the midst of a historic tragedy in parts of our northern Bahamas.
“Our mission and focus now is search, rescue and recovery. I ask for your prayers for those in affected areas and for our first responders.”
Mottley, who said she has been in constant contact with her CARICOM counterpart, expressed deep sadness at the tremendous devastation and suffering the monster storm has unleashed on the northern Bahamas.
She said: “We were fortunate enough to have been spared the wrath of Dorian, but we are no less touched by what has occurred in The Bahamas than if it had taken place right here in Barbados.”
The Prime Minister thanked the Barbados Light & Power Company, which has been mobilizing to send crews and equipment to The Bahamas to assist with the restoration of power, and other members of the local private sector for pledges of support.
She urged other members of the private sector and civil society to join the effort.
Mottley noted that the onslaught of Dorian was yet another adverse effect of climate change and she urged the region to stand together to combat the harmful effects.
“It is now clear that increasingly, all nations in this region are becoming more susceptible to the ravages of hurricanes and other adverse weather conditions, and while we are not the ones creating the conditions for global warming that fuels them, we certainly have no choice but to stand together to help each other when they come our way,” she said.
Dorian is the strongest hurricane to ever make landfall in the Bahamas. Winds were estimated to be up to 200 kilometres per hour.
Forecasters say Dorian remains an extremely dangerous Category 4 storm.
Earlier today, it was moving at snail’s pace one mile per hour speed.
But the National Hurricane Center’s 9 p.m. advisory said the hurricane had since become stationary.
“On this track, the core of extremely dangerous Hurricane Dorian will continue to pound Grand Bahama Island into Tuesday morning,” the advisory said.