An estimated 2,500 people are listed as missing in the Bahamas in Hurricane Dorian’s aftermath, the government said Wednesday. But it cautioned that the names had yet to be checked against the rosters of people evacuated from the devastated islands or staying in shelters.
Carl Smith, a spokesman for the country’s National Emergency Management Agency, said he expected the list to shrink as the names are checked.
More than a week after Dorian smashed thousands of homes on the country’s Grand Bahama and Abaco islands, the death toll stood at 50 and was expected to rise, with search-and-rescue crews still making their way through the ruins.
“The number of deaths is expected to significantly increase,” Prime Minister Hubert Minnis said in a national address Wednesday night.
He said the Bahamas would hold a national day of prayer, and named hurricane response coordinators for the two most-affected islands.
While power has returned to much of Grand Bahama, Smith said the electrical infrastructure around Marsh Harbour, Abaco’s largest city, was destroyed.
In Freeport, the largest city on Grand Bahama, rental car company driver Clifton Williams said he was driving home Monday when he saw an illuminated streetlight for the first time since the hurricane.
“I was happy to see that. I didn’t expect that so quickly,” he said. “First thing I do, I cut on the fan and cool off myself,” he added, saying he slept well for the first time in more than a week thanks to the fan.
Others in Freeport didn’t have power yet.
“It’s the same as it was a week ago. It’s very hot,” said Samuel Antonio.