Amid fears of higher Dorian death toll, islanders vie to leave
Bahamians scrambled to escape the islands hardest-hit by Dorian, which has killed at least 43 people, while the storm wreaked “havoc” farther north in Canada after making landfall near Halifax Saturday.
Even as some Bahamians began to reunite with their loved ones, the death toll — 35 so far in the Abaco Islands and eight in Grand Bahama — was likely to climb “significantly,” according to Prime Minister Hubert Minnis.
A loosely coordinated armada of passenger planes, helicopters and both private and government boats and ships — including redirected cruise liners — converged in the Bahamas on the horribly battered Abacos to help with evacuations, both to Nassau and to the US mainland.
Evacuees began flowing out of the region as a cruise ship carrying 1,400 people docked Saturday in Riviera Beach, Florida, CNN reported. All had documents to enter the United States.
The Coast Guard said that all Bahamian ports had now reopened and that it had deployed nine cutters to the islands. Six of its MH-60 Jayhawk helicopters had so far rescued 290 people.
And more than 260 Abacos residents arrived Friday in Nassau on a government-chartered ferry, part of the first wave of people to be evacuated off the archipelago’s most decimated islands.
Thousands of miles (kilometers) north, Dorian, now classified as a post-tropical cyclone, was “wreaking havoc over the Canadian Maritimes,” the US-based National Hurricane Center said.
More than 500,000 power outages were reported according to the Canadian Hurricane Centre, which said the problem extended across the Maritimes, a three-province region in east Canada comprising Nova Scotia, New Brunswick and Prince Edward Island.
Dorian made landfall earlier in the day south of the port city of Halifax, home to Canada’s Atlantic fleet.
“We’re talking about a very dangerous storm,” Bob Robichaud of the Canadian Hurricane Centre told a briefing.
Television images showed a downpour and howling winds in the empty streets of downtown Halifax where a crane collapsed onto a semi-constructed building and a roof was torn off another apartment.
No significant injuries or fatalities had been reported according to Halifax Regional Police late Saturday, The Toronto Star said.
Police had evacuated 150 people from downtown Halifax, including residents of the apartment building, they said.