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Hurrican Dorian: Death toll rises as Bahamas faces 'devastation'

The storm is weakening as it moves onto the North Carolina coast.

The scene in Abaco, Bahamas, which was devastated by Hurricane Dorian.
The scene in Abaco, Bahamas, which was devastated by Hurricane Dorian.
Image: Gonzalo Gaudenzi/AP/Press Association Images

THE DEATH TOLL from Hurricane Dorian has risen to 30 in the Bahamas, with the number expected to rise further. 

Prime Minister Hubert Minnis told CNN that the death toll will rise and that the storm had caused “generational devastation”. 

The United Nations said 70,000 people in the Bahamas were in “immediate need” of aid.

Dorian was hitting the US states of North and South Carolina throughout the night with strong winds and driving rain, bringing dangerous storm surge.

Authorities in the state of Florida – which was largely spared by the storm – blamed six more deaths on the hurricane, US media reported, though they occurred as the victims were preparing for the storm’s arrival or were evacuation-related

US weather forecasters warned that some areas of the Carolina coast could see dangerous storm surge of up to 2.1 metres. 

“We know we’re in for a long night and we’ll be eager to see the sunshine in the morning,” North Carolina’s Governor Roy Cooper told CNN yesterday.

news-hurricane-dorian Charleston, South Carolina was hit by the storm on Thursday. Source: USA TODAY Network/SIPA USA/PA Image

The slow-moving storm also spawned several tornadoes but there were no immediate reports of casualties.

Many residents of coastal Carolina heeded evacuation orders while others battened down their homes with plywood and prepared to ride out the storm. 

The storm has now weakened to a category 1 storm, US meteorologists said.

Dorian was packing maximum sustained winds of nearly 150 kilometres per hour, according to the latest update from the Miami-based National Hurricane Center.

“Slow weakening is expected during the next few days. However, Dorian should remain a powerful hurricane as the center moves near or along the coast of North Carolina,” it said. 

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Bahamas

Amid fears of lawlessness in the storm zone, Minnis warned that any looters will be prosecuted “to the fullest extent of the law” and additional police and defence force officers deployed.

US and British helicopters were conducting medical evacuations, aerial assessments to help coordinate relief efforts, and reconnaissance flights to assess the damage.

The US Coast Guard said it had rescued 201 people in the Bahamas as of Thursday using multiple helicopters and Coast Guard cutters.

The UN’s World Food Program said it had eight tonnes of ready-to-eat meals ready to arrive in the Bahamas.

- © AFP 2019

 

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