Hurricane Dorian leaves Bahamas unliveable as locals await evacuation.
The scope of the disaster Hurricane Dorian brought to the Bahamas is becoming more clear as rescue workers reach devastated parts of the country.
Carrying possessions in duffel bags and shopping carts, hundreds of desperate storm victims gathered at the port in Grand Abaco in hopes of getting off the hurricane-devastated island, amid signs of rising frustration over the pace of the disaster-relief effort.
"It's chaos here," Gee Rolle, a 44-year-old construction worker said as he waited with his wife for a boat that could take them to the capital, Nassau.
"The Government is trying their best, but at the same time, I don't think they're doing a good enough job to evacuate the people. It ain't liveable for nobody. Only animals can live here."
The Bahamian Health Ministry said helicopters and boats were on the way, but officials warned of delays because of severe flooding.
Meanwhile, the search for victims and survivors went on five days after Dorian slammed the Bahamas with 295 kilometre-per-hour winds that obliterated countless homes.
Officials said 30 people had been confirmed dead, but the toll was expected to rise.
Hurricane Dorian is continuing to churn north-east, away from North Carolina and toward eastern Canada.
The category one storm continues to have maximum sustained winds of 145 kph.
At the port, some of those who lined up behind a yellow cloth tape arrived as early as 1:00 am, hoping to get to Nassau.
"It's going to get crazy soon," said Serge Simon, 39, who drives an ice truck and waited with his wife and two sons, aged 4 and 5 months.
"There's no food, no water. There are bodies in the water. People are going to start getting sick."
There were no Government-organised evacuations yet, but the Royal Bahamas Defence Force helped people board a 42-metre ferry that had come to pick up its employees and had room for an additional 160 people.
The crowd waited calmly as marines separated women and children to let them board first.
Also, a barge that had dropped off portable toilets and heavy equipment in Abaco took some 300 people to Nassau.
Prime Minister Hubert Minnis spoke to the crowd at the port, using a Creole interpreter for a group of Haitians awaiting evacuation, and assured them: "All of you will be treated with respect."
Mr Minnis said he was satisfied with the speed of the Government's response and told the storm victims: "All I need you to do is just be patient and wait because everybody is coming."
Officials said all ports had reopened.
An international company that owns an oil terminal on Grand Bahama said storm damage had resulted in a significant oil spill on the surrounding ground but added that so far there was no sign of leakage into the sea.
The company, Equinor, which is majority-owned by Norway's Government, said it had not yet determined how much oil had leaked from the tanks, which can hold 6.75 million gallons of crude oil and condensate.
An array of organisations, countries and companies — including the United Nations, the United States, the British Royal Navy, American Airlines and Royal Caribbean — have mobilised to send in food, water, generators, roof tarps, diapers, flashlights and other supplies.
The US Coast Guard said it had rescued 239 people in the Bahamas and was still conducting search missions.
7 September 2019