BAHAMAS – Governor General Describes Devastation As A “Most Grievous Blow”

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Governor General, Cornelius A. Smith, has described as “ a most grievous blow,” the devastation brought upon by Hurricane Dorian when it slammed into the Bahamas on September 1 as the death toll climbed to 50.

In a radio and television broadcast on Monday night, Smith said that the hurricane, which hit the archipelago with winds in excess of 180 miles per hour (mph) had now given Bahamians their greatest challenge in their history in trying to rebuild lives and infrastructure.

Prime Minister Dr. Hubert Minnis will address the nation on Wednesday night.

In his address, Smith said that “there is no question that our people and our country, have suffered a most grievous blow at the hands of nature.

“We all know that from time to time throughout our history, we have had encounters with hurricanes of varying magnitudes but none like Dorian. I remember a previous generation telling stories of the great storms of 1929 and 1932 but it is painfully clear that never before have we experienced such a destructive force as Hurricane Dorian,” Smith said.

The 1929 hurricane killed 48 people, while the 1932 category five hurricane devastated Abaco in particular, killing 16 people.

Smith said with regards to Hurricane Dorian, it hovered over the northern Bahamas “for what must have seemed like an eternity to those in its path”.

He said it caused “immeasurable havoc on Abaco, Grand Bahama and their surrounding cays while some of its effects were felt much further south.

“As we continue to progress toward a full assessment it is clear that the devastation is unprecedented in our history. Many lives have been lost. Our sincere condolences go to the families and friends of those who have lost their loves ones. I know your grief knows no bounds and words are useless, but we as a country and as your countrymen grieve with you.

“My thoughts and prayers are with the thousands of families whose homes and properties have been severely damaged or destroyed and whose lives are now shattered,” Smith said, adding “this is a dark and joyless time for those who have lost, but we pledge to you that there will be light and hope again. “Our public infrastructure has been degraded and in many instances is now non-existent. We face one of the greatest challenges in our history – that of rebuilding the lives of our people and our country but in the midst of all this we are inspired by the performance of those who were and are still on the frontline.”

Smith spoke as the police announced that the death toll had climbed to 50 and like on previous occasions warned Bahamians to be prepared for higher figures as rescue teams make their way into devastated parts of the Abacos and Grand Bahama

Police Commissioner Anthony Ferguson, told reporters that “as of Sunday, September 8, 2019, officers have located and recovered 50 deceased persons from the hurricane-affected areas – 42 from the island of Abaco and 8 from Grand Bahama.

“We anticipate the discovery of more deceased persons, as the process of search and recovery progresses. As there are many more persons presumed missing, since they have not been seen or heard from since the passage of Hurricane Dorian, we are appealing to family members to file missing persons reports with the police.”

Ferguson extended “sincere condolences to those families who had loved ones die during the hurricane,”” and sought to re-assure citizens that the police were doing everything possible together with their regional and international partners “to bring relief and closure for everyone.”

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