Friday 3 July, 2020

Hurricane Dorian: 'Historic tragedy' with at least 5 dead in Bahamas

At least five people have died in the Bahamas as Hurricane Dorian unleashes massive flooding and pummels the islands.

“We are in the midst of a historic tragedy,” Prime Minister Hubert Minnis said in announcing the fatalities. He called the devastation “unprecedented and extensive.”

The fearsome Category 4 storm slowed almost to a standstill as it shredded roofs, hurled cars and forced even rescue crews to take shelter until the onslaught passed.

Officials said they received a “tremendous” number of calls from people in flooded homes. A radio station received more than 2,000 distress messages, including reports of a five-month-old baby stranded on a roof and a grandmother with six grandchildren who cut a hole in a roof to escape rising floodwaters.

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Other reports involved a group of eight children and five adults stranded on a highway and two storm shelters that flooded.

The deaths in the Bahamas came after a previous storm-related fatality in Puerto Rico.

At least 21 people have been injured in the Bahamas and evacuated by helicopters, the prime minster said.

Police Chief Samuel Butler urged people to remain calm and share their GPS coordinates, but he said rescue crews had to wait until weather conditions improved.

“We simply cannot get to you,” he told Bahamas radio station ZNS.

Forecasters warned that Dorian could generate a storm surge as high as 23 feet (7 meters).

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