Published: Tue, September 03, 2019
Global News | By Blake Casey

Red Cross: Hurricane Dorian Destroys 13,000 Homes in Bahamas

Red Cross: Hurricane Dorian Destroys 13,000 Homes in Bahamas

The hurricane is expected to stay over the Bahamas on Monday night.

The storm was causing havoc for travelers on Florida's east coast, where some airports and gas stations were closed.

In some parts of Abaco, "you can not tell the difference as to the beginning of the street versus where the ocean begins", Prime Minister Hubert Minnis said.

As many as 13,000 houses have been severely damaged or destroyed as flooding has reportedly contaminated wells with saltwater, according to Red Cross officials on the ground. One showed floodwaters rushing through the streets of an unidentified town at almost the height of a auto roof.

As Hurricane Dorian has stalled over the Bahamas, government officials are suspending rescue efforts due to the unsafe storm surge and pounding winds, the Washington Post reports.

The National Hurricane Center in Miami says Dorian's top sustained winds have further decreased to 170 miles per hour.

Such a track would be similar to Hurricane Matthew in 2016, with similar or worse damages depending on Dorian's track.

Farther north into coastal Georgia and the Carolinas, the forecast is also a nail-biter.

Hurricane Dorian has killed five people in the Abaco Islands, Bahamian Prime Minister Hubert Minnis said Monday.

A hurricane warning has been issued for the northwestern Bahamas excluding Andros Island, where a hurricane watch is in effect. At last report, Dorian was about 180 kilometers east of West Palm Beach, Florida.

Grand Bahama Island could see storm surges between 18 and 23 feet (5.5 to 7 meters) higher than typical tide levels, according to the NHC forecast.

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The National Hurricane Center (NHC) said in its latest advisory at 4pm (20:00 GMT) that "extremely risky Dorian continues to bring life-threatening conditions" to islands in the Bahamas.

The bank estimated that the likely losses from Dorian would erode that capital, potentially causing the reinsurers to change their prices. Low-lying island communities are believed to have been hit hard by flooding and ferocious winds.

A Reuters witness staying in the hotel at the Abaco Beach Resort on the island of Great Abaco said winds had torn off the shutters and part of the roof, and the site was surrounded by a lake of water.

"This is a life-threatening situation".

The hurricane's effects on the Southeastern U.S. are not expected to be "anywhere near as unsafe as what the Bahamas has seen", Douty says.

The UK Department for International Development said it was sending three humanitarian experts to the Bahamas.

Houses in a neighbourhood in Freeport on Grand Bahama Island were engulfed by six feet (1.8 metres) of water.

How has the Bahamas prepared?

Speaking from an emergency call center in the city of Freeport, Don Cornish, the disaster manager for Grand Bahama said the storm sounds "like a freight train is passing", adding that there is flying debris and intensifying rain. All tourists were asked to leave.

Several tolls had been suspended along major roadways to ease evacuations, and DeSantis said he had also expanded the suspension of tolls to include roads in and around Jacksonville, including the First Coast Expressway and the I-295 express lane. "And we have reminded wireless carriers of the need to have roaming agreements in place before the storm hits".

Meanwhile, as much as 6 to 10 inches of rain is predicted for the eastern Florida coast, as well as other states north of Florida, from the storm. Authorities cautioned that it could still make landfall on the East Coast. "We can not confirm those reports until we go out and see for ourselves", Bahamian Foreign Affairs Minister Darren Henfield said.

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