Islands not impacted by Hurricane Dorian remain open and are receiving visitors, according to the islands' updated storm page
. These include:
- Paradise Island
- Harbour Island
- The Exumas
- Cat Island
- San Salvador
- Rum Cay
- Long Island
- Acklins/Crooked Island
- Ragged Island
Hotels in Nassau, Paradise Island and the above-stated areas remain open. Hotels in the Abacos and Grand Bahama Island are closed. Reservation holders should contact properties directly for complete information.
As Hurricane Dorian makes its way slowly up the U.S. coast -- now as a Category 3 storm -- the scale of devastation in the Bahamas from its days as a Category 5 hurricane is becoming more clear.
The storm began its two-day pass over the islands early Sunday, bringing with it 30 inches of rain, 48 hours of hurricane-force winds (hitting up to 180 mph) and a storm surge as high as 23 feet, according to CBS News.
The northern islands of the Abacos and Grand Bahama Island suffered the most damage. The Red Cross has said more than 13,000 homes across the two were either damaged or destroyed. As of Thursday morning, the death toll stood at 20 and was expected to rise. Duane Sands, the Bahamas minister of health, said 17 of the victims were from the Abacos and three from Grand Bahama, according to an Associated Press report.
"We are in the midst of one of the greatest national crisis in our country's history," Bahamas Prime Minister Hubert Minnis said. "It is going to require a massive coordinated effort to rebuild our communities."
Much of the two islands now resemble a wasteland. Multiple news outlets report homes being torn inside out, cars destroyed, trees stripped and toppled, and that residential streets have transformed into rushing rivers. Major infrastructure has been rendered useless. The Grand Bahama International Airport is completely under water, according to CNN.
Around 70,000 people are in need of lifesaving medical aid on the affected islands, said the top relief official for the United Nations, Mark Lowcock, according to a report in the New York Times. Nassau's Princess Margaret Hospital said in a statement they currently are treating 35 patients impacted by the storm. U.N. officials added that around 62,000 people are without drinking water.
Additional recovery efforts are underway. The U.S. Coast Guard has rescued a total of 114 people and six pets from the string of islands. The U.S. Northern Command said Wednesday that it will also be providing assistance. In addition, four U.S. Marine Corps MV-22 Ospreys have already transported an Air Force assessment team to the Bahamas.
James Beard-award-winning chef José Andrés is also on the ground, having traveled to the islands to help feed storm victims and emergency workers, according to a report by NPR. "The destruction in Abaco and Grand Bahamas is huge," Andrés told the news outlet.
As of late Wednesday night, Hurricane Dorian was heading toward the Eastern Seaboard of the U.S. Officials with the National Hurricane Center said the storm could be close to the Carolinas from Thursday through Friday morning, with shore communities as far north as Virginia facing "a danger of life-threatening inundation from rising water."