Thirty-five of the official deaths were in the Abaco Islands and eight in Grand Bahama. But officials say that morticians and 200 body bags have been sent to Abaco. In Marsh Harbor, an estimated 90% of the infrastructure appears damaged, according to the World Food Programme, which delivered 14,700 ready-to-eat meals to Nassau on Friday to send to where they were needed.
The WFP added, “The government building, the medical centre and the Anglican church are housing thousands of displaced people – including women, young children and other vulnerable groups. Living conditions are rapidly deteriorating with limited or no water, electricity, and sanitation. With improved access (airport in Marsh Harbor newly reopened), some supplies are arriving including some minimal food and water. The needs remain enormous.”
An estimated 70,000 people have been made homeless by the category 5 hurricane, many of them trying to leave, lining up by the thousands in Freeport, Grand Bahama, hoping to get on one of the cruise ships evacuating people to Florida.
For people still in the devastated areas, reports indicate that provisions are running low as conditions worsen, and survivors also talk about the rising stench of decaying bodies. International aid agencies and charities are on the ground and bringing in basic supplies, as are several cruise lines, but the situation remains critical.
As search and rescue efforts continue, the Bahamas government is being assisted by the US Coast Guard, the Royal Navy and the Cayman Islands police helicopter. In addition, 100 Defence Force soldiers have been sent from Trinidad and Tobago to help relief efforts.
To add to the overwhelming catastrophe, there are significant oil spills on Grand Bahama, which the oil company, Equinor, has pledged to clean up.
“Equinor has secured vessels and equipment for oil spill response in Port Fourchon, Louisiana, and from various ports across southeast Florida. Some are now en-route, while some are pending customs to be en-route as soon as possible. Upon arrival, clean-up and remediation will start immediately,” the company said in a statement.
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