PRAY FOR BAHAMAS
Hurricane Dorian continued its unrelenting assault on the Grand Bahama and Abaco Islands on Monday, causing “extreme destruction” as storm surges rose 12 to 18 feet above normal tide levels and at least five people were confirmed dead.
Prime Minister Hubert Minnis of the Bahamas said the Royal Bahamas police force confirmed the deaths late Monday. Details about how the people died were not immediately available.
“We are in the midst of a historic tragedy,” Mr. Minnis said at an evening news conference. He added: “Our focus is search, rescue and recovery. I ask for your prayers for those in affected areas and for our first responders.”
Mr. Minnis said the videos of vast destruction in the country were heartbreaking.
“Many homes, businesses and other buildings have been completed or partially destroyed,” he said.
“Downtown Grand Bahama is under three feet of water, including the ground floor of its hospital and the prime minister’s office,” Mr. Minnis added.
Because of the storm’s stubborn refusal to move past the Bahamas, officials with the Caribbean Disaster Emergency Management Agency, a relief group based in Barbados, may not be able to visit the islands until Wednesday afternoon.
Forecasters said at 2 a.m. on Tuesday that the hurricane was stationary, even as its winds swirled at 120 m.p.h. After moving toward the islands over the weekend, it came to a halt on Monday evening above them. The hurricane moved just 14 miles from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m, and sat about 105 miles off the coast of Florida.
The storm was expected to continue drubbing the islands — which have a combined population of about 77,000, the majority of whom live on Grand Bahama — through Tuesday, forecasters said, before resuming its course toward the Atlantic coast and turning up the coast.
“Tonight and tomorrow morning, we’ll start to see the pull to the north that we’ve all been anxiously awaiting, because we really need to get this thing off of the Bahamas and moving northward,” Ken Graham, the director of the National Hurricane Center, said in a Facebook video on Monday.
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