Nassau (Bahamas): At least 20 people have lost their lives in northern Bahamas after Hurricane Dorian caused widespread destruction in the area, the country’s health minister Duane Sands said on Wednesday.
In Abacos, 17 people died while three deaths were reported in Grand Bahama, the minister told The Washington Post.
The toll is expected to rise as rescue and search efforts are underway in various parts of the Bahamas.
Dorian, which ravaged the Bahamas as a Category 5 hurricane on Sunday, wreaked havoc in the island country, uprooting trees, destroying communication lines and flattening houses, rendering hundreds of people homeless.
“We are in the midst of one of the greatest national crises in our country’s history,” the country’s Prime Minister Hubert Minnis said on Tuesday night.
On Wednesday, as many as nine US Coast Guard cutters were heading for the Bahamas while patients from the hardest-hit places were airlifted by Coast Guard helicopters to Nassau for medical facilities.
Apart from that, the British Royal Navy, volunteers and aid organisations were helping authorities in rescue and relief operations.
Meanwhile, Dorian was hurtling towards Florida, moving at 8 mph north of the Bahamas on Wednesday morning, according to the National Hurricane Center.
While the storm has been downgraded to a Category 2 hurricane, Dorian was forecast to continue moving up the Florida coast and is expected to make landfall in the states of North and South Carolina either on late Wednesday or Thursday.
In the wake of the hurricane warnings, commercial operations at Charleston International Airport in South Carolina have been temporarily suspended, CNN reported.
Services are expected to resume on Friday morning depending on the weather conditions, the airport said on its website.
Authorities have urged passengers to keep in contact with their airlines for information on flight operations and cancellations. (ANI)