WATCH | 2 500 missing in hurricane-hit Bahamas - official

2019-09-12 11:14
A destroyed home is seen at Freeport on Grand Bahama island. (Leila Macor, AFP)

A destroyed home is seen at Freeport on Grand Bahama island. (Leila Macor, AFP)

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Some 2 500 people are unaccounted for in the Bahamas following Hurricane Dorian, the archipelago's National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) said on Wednesday.

NEMA spokesperson Carl Smith told reporters that some of the missing people may eventually be located.

"At this point, there are approximately 2 500 individuals registered on the Bahamian government register (of missing people)," Smith said.

"This list has not yet been checked against government records of who is staying in shelters or who have been evacuated," he said.

"Some individuals who have been evacuated from Abaco and Grand Bahama have not yet registered with social services," Smith said. "As we are able to cross reference our data sets we will be able to inform family members and reunite survivors with loved ones."

At least 50 people died in the hurricane, which slammed into the northern Bahamas as a Category 5 storm, and officials have said they expect the number to rise significantly.

"We're not going to speculate on what the final numbers will be," Smith said. "We understand that people are concerned and so are we."

The NEMA spokesperson said more than 5 500 people have been evacuated so far from the northern Bahamas islands of Grand Bahama and Abaco, which were devastated by the storm.

He said that over the past day or so there had been a "significant reduction", however, in the numbers of people seeking to leave.

Smith also said that permission was being given to resume commercial flights to Abaco on a "limited basis", but priority would be given to relief and evacuation flights.

The NEMA spokesperson said Abaco's power grid had suffered extensive damage.

"Marsh Harbour power station was completely destroyed," he said of the largest town on the island of more than 15 000 people.

An official with Bahamas Power and Light Ltd said electricity to the south of Abaco could be restored in about three weeks but it may be a few months before the rest of the island gets power.

Read more on:    us  |  weather  |  hurricane dorian
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