Bahamas – 13,000 Houses Severely Damaged as Hurricane Dorian Hits

Hurricane Dorian has caused widespread destruction in several islands of the Bahamas, with maximum sustained winds as high is 295 km/h and storm surge of up to 7 metres.

NASA Earth Observatory image by Lauren Dauphin, using MODIS data from NASA EOSDIS/LANCE and GIBS/Worldview.

The National Hurricane Center (NHC) said: The eye of Dorian has made a second landfall at 2 pm EDT (1800 UTC) on Great Abaco Island near Marsh Harbour. Maximum sustained winds were 185 mph (297km/h) at the time. This is tied for the strongest Atlantic hurricane landfall on record with the 1935 Labor Day hurricane.”

On 02 September Dorian’s centre was over Grand Bahama Island, causing catastrophic conditions there, according to NHC. The hurricane is forecast to head towards Florida. NHC said that “life-threatening storm surge and hurricane-force winds are expected along portions of the Florida east coast through mid-week.”

Early damage assessments in the Bahamas suggest strong winds and storm surge have caused widespread damage in the Abaco islands, where storm surges of 5.5 to 7 metres were reported. Videos and images shared on Social Media showed wind damaged homes, overturned cars and flood water up to 2 metres deep rushing through streets.

According to rapid initial assessments from authorities and Red Cross officials on the ground, as many as 13,000 houses may have been severely damaged or destroyed, leaving many people without adequate shelter. Extensive flooding is believed to have contaminated wells with saltwater, creating an urgent need for clean water.

Sune Bulow, Head of the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies’ (IFRC) Emergency Operation Centre in Geneva, said:

“We don’t yet have a complete picture of what has happened. But it is clear that Hurricane Dorian has had a catastrophic impact. We anticipate extensive shelter needs, alongside the need for short-term economic support, as well as for clean water and health assistance.”

The National Hurricane Center in the USA forecasts that Dorian is likely to reach the Florida coastline on 02 September (local time) or early 03 September. Mandatory evacuation notices have been issued for coastal areas of Florida, Georgia and South Carolina, and a state of emergency declared for coastal Florida, Georgia, and the Carolinas.

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