The focus in the Bahamas is on rescue and recovery efforts Wednesday after the bulk of Hurricane Dorian finally moved north after flooding neighborhoods, ripping roofs off buildings and leaving thousands of people in need of aid.
Prime Minister Hubert Minnis said there were seven confirmed deaths from the storm, but that the number was expected to increase. He pledged, “No effort or resources will be held back,” in responding to the disaster.
The U.S. National Hurricane Center said flood waters on Grand Bahama and Abaco islands should start to slowly subside.
Aid efforts have been hampered by the long duration of the storm as it sat over the islands and pummeled the area with strong winds and rain, leaving the runway at Grand Bahama Airport under water.
The Red Cross said Dorian severely damaged or destroyed nearly half the homes on Grand Bahama and Abaco and that 62,000 people were in need of clean water. The United Nations said some 60,000 people need food after the storm.
Dorian has weakened from its peak power, but still presents a threat to the southeastern United States.
The NHC said early Wednesday the storm still carried maximum sustained winds of 175 kilometers per hour and would move “dangerously close” to the coasts of Florida and Georgia during the day and into Wednesday night. The states of South Carolina and North Carolina are under threat for Thursday and Friday.
Even if the center of Dorian does not make landfall in those states, it is still bringing bands of heavy rains, strong winds that extend out far from the center, and high surf to shorelines. Rainfall forecasts range from seven to 25 centimeters in the coming days.