As Hurricane Dorian slowly tracks northwest toward the U.S., it’s finally moving away from the Bahamas after hammering the islands for nearly two days straight, and the damage it left in its wake is devastating.
A satellite image taken after the storm passed shows that much of Grand Bahama is now underwater, and aerial footage taken by a pilot flying over the Abaco Islands shows similar destruction there.
The video shows complete devastation. Roads, cars, homes, and an airport appear to be almost entirely underwater. “The runway is under about three feet of water,” someone on the plane can be heard saying. “The fire station is gone.”
Dorian made landfall on Great Abaco on Sunday as a Category 5 storm with wind speeds of 185 mph. Five people are confirmed dead, and thousands have lost their homes.
Kevin D. Harris, the director general of the Bahamas Information Center, told the New York Times that authorities were particularly concerned about the Abacos, since the islands are home to two shantytowns primarily populated by Haitian migrant workers.
We are already hearing from residents that whole towns have been wiped out and devastated,” Harris said. “This is going to be a big search-and-rescue and rebuilding effort. I don’t think we have seen anything as bad as this. This one is for the history books.”
Authorities received calls from more than 200 families trapped on rooftops or in attics, and one caller reported a five-month-old baby stranded on a roof.
Dorian also hit Grand Bahama, where it remained “firmly planted” for nearly two days, according to the National Hurricane Center. Though the storm has since been downgraded to a Category 2, it moved through the island at just 1 mph.
“Downtown Grand Bahama is under three feet of water, including the ground floor of its hospital and the prime minister’s office,” Prime Minister Hubert Minnis said.
Grand Bahama and the Abaco islands have a combined population of about 70,000, according to the Associated Press. A Red Cross spokesperson told the AP that more than 13,000 homes — or 45% of all the homes on the islands — have been damaged or destroyed.
Cover: A volunteer looks for the owner of a dog he rescued from the rising waters of Hurricane Dorian, on a flooded road near the Causarina bridge in Freeport, Grand Bahama, Bahamas, Tuesday, Sept. 3, 2019. The storm’s punishing winds and muddy brown floodwaters devastated thousands of homes, crippled hospitals and trapped people in attics. (AP Photo/Ramon Espinosa)