FREEPORT, Bahamas (AP) — Practically parking over the Bahamas for a day and a half, Hurricane Dorian pounded away at the islands Tuesday in a watery onslaught that devastated thousands of homes, trapped people in attics and crippled hospitals. At least five deaths were reported, with the full extent of the damage far from clear.
The United Nations and the International Red Cross began mobilizing to deal with the unfolding humanitarian crisis in the wake of the most powerful hurricane on record ever to hit the Bahamas.
Dorian’s punishing winds and torrential rain battered the islands of Abaco and Grand Bahama, which have a combined population of about 70,000 and are known for their marinas, golf courses and all-inclusive resorts. The Grand Bahama airport was under 6 feet (2 meters) of water.
Bahamian officials received a “tremendous” number of calls from people in flooded homes, and desperate callers trying to find loved ones left messages with local radio stations.
One station said it got reports of a 5-month-old baby stranded on a roof and a woman with six grandchildren who cut a hole in a roof to escape rising floodwaters. At least two designated storm shelters flooded. The U.S. Coast Guard airlifted at least 21 people injured on Abaco. Rescuers also used jet skis to reach some people.