Ba­hamas strug­gles to cope with bod­ies as Amer­i­cans trapped by Do­rian’s flood

The Sunday Telegraph (Sydney) - - WORLD - MARSH HAR­BOUR

THE death toll from Hur­ri­cane Do­rian is ex­pected to rise dra­mat­i­cally as relief workers sift through the debris of shat­tered homes and build­ings on Great Abaco Is­land in the Ba­hamas.

The most pow­er­ful hur­ri­cane to ever hit the Ba­hamas swept through the Abaco Is­lands and Grand Ba­hama Is­land ear­lier this week, lev­el­ling en­tire neigh­bour­hoods and knock­ing out key in­fra­struc­ture, in­clud­ing air­port land­ing strips and a hos­pi­tal.

Hun­dreds, if not thou­sands, are still missing.

Of­fi­cials say the death toll, which stands at 30, is likely to shoot up as more bod­ies are dis­cov­ered in the ruins and flood­wa­ters left be­hind by the storm. “You smell the de­com­pos­ing bod­ies as you walk through Marsh Har­bour,” 37-year-old San­dra Sweet­ing said. “It’s ev­ery­where.”

Chaotic con­di­tions around the is­lands were in­ter­fer­ing with flights and boats, ham­per­ing relief efforts.

The med­i­cal chief of staff of the Ba­hamas’ only func­tion­ing pub­lic hos­pi­tal said the death toll would be “staggering”.

The weak­ened Do­rian flooded homes on North Carolina’s Outer Banks yes­ter­day with a fury that took even storm-hard­ened res­i­dents by sur­prise, forcing peo­ple to climb into their at­tics.

Hun­dreds were feared trapped by high wa­ter and neigh­bours used boats to res­cue one an­other. The now Cat­e­gory 1 hur­ri­cane sent sea­wa­ter surg­ing over neigh­bour­hoods, flood­ing the first floors of many homes.

The eye of the storm came ashore at Cape Hat­teras, Do­rian’s land­fall in the US af­ter a week and a half in which it spread fear and kept peo­ple guess­ing as to where it would go.

Do­rian has peeled off the coast­line and is fi­nally mak­ing its exit out to sea. It is ex­pected to re­main a hur­ri­cane as it sweeps up the east­ern coast of the US today, although it is far enough off­shore that its winds are un­likely to pose any threat to land.

Wes­ley Joseph walks through debris on dev­as­tated Great Abaco Is­land. Pic­ture: Getty Images

The US Coast Guard evac­u­ates refugees from out­ly­ing is­lands of the Ba­hamas. Pic­ture: AFP

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