At least five people, including an 8-year-old boy, have died after Hurricane Dorian brought what Bahamas Prime Minister Hubert Minnis called “unprecedented and extensive” damage to the Bahamas.
Dorian sent “floodwaters up to the second floors of buildings, trapped people in attics” and chased others from shelter to shelter, The Associated Press reported.
It pounded homes and businesses on the islands of Abaco and Grand Bahama with top sustained winds of 185 mph, according to The Associated Press. The islands have a combined population of about 70,000 and are no more than 40 feet above sea level at their highest points.
Bahamas Deputy Prime Minister Peter Turnquest, who is also the finance minister, told The Washington Post Tuesday approximately 70 percent of homes on the Grand Bahama are underwater and the island’s infrastructure was wrecked.
“The mental health of those who have endured this monster storm is a priority concern of the government,” he said.
The Grand Bahama International Airport was reportedly under 6 feet of water.
“We are in the midst of a historic tragedy,” Prime Minister Hubert Minnis said Monday. “The devastation is unprecedented and extensive.”
The eight-year-old boy’s death was the first reported fatality reported in Hurricane Dorian by local news outlets Eyewitness News and Bahamas Press.
Ingrid McIntosh, the boy’s grandmother, told Eyewitness News in the Bahamas that her grandson died on Abaco Island.
“All I can say is that my daughter called from Abaco and said that her son — my grandson — is dead. That’s it. I don’t know what really happened. I think she said he drowned,” McIntosh said.
She added that her granddaughter is also missing, according to the news agency.
Bahamian authorities have not yet confirmed the child’s death, CNN reported.
Weather experts have warned of more damage ahead even though Dorian was downgraded to a Category 3 storm early Tuesday.
“Dangerous winds” and a “life-threatening storm surge” expected to hit about 15 feet above normal tide levels were still threatening the islands Tuesday morning, the National Weather Service reported at 9 a.m.
“These hazards will continue over Grand Bahama Island through much of today,” the agency also said.
The storm bypassed Puerto Rico and is expected to skirt South Florida before it hits more northerly regions of the Eastern Seaboard.
President Donald Trump declared a state of emergency for Georgia, Florida and South Carolina over the three-day weekend, according to White House news releases.