45 deceased storm victims remain in trailer

45 deceased storm victims remain in trailer
An aerial shot of Marsh Harbour, Abaco, in the immediate wake of deadly Hurricane Dorian. (FILE PHOTO)

Special burial site for unidentified storm victims to cost govt. $75,000

NASSAU, BAHAMAS — Health minister Dr Duane Sands yesterday confirmed 45 unclaimed bodies retrieved in Abaco remain in an air-conditioned trailer in Marsh Harbour nearly two months after Hurricane Dorian.

According to reports, four bodies have been released to their families; however, the vast majority of those victims have yet to be identified.

Authorities recovered the remains of two unidentified bodies in Abaco on Monday, bringing to death toll so far to 67. To date, 55 bodies have been recovered in Abaco.

Another 12 bodies were recovered in Grand Bahama. At last report, eight victims from Grand Bahama had been identified and released to their families. Six of the deceased were examined in New Providence.

Autopsies have been performed on all of the bodies with the exception of the two deceased storm victims on Monday.

Minister of Health Dr. Duane Sands said the process of identifying bodies of hurricane victims has been challenging due to a lack of comparative information, though officials have captured DNA samples.

A draft post-Dorian health sector action plan published by Eyewitness News Online on Monday budgets $75,000 for the burial of “approximately 50 unclaimed victims”.

As part of its disaster victim and mass casualty management, the ministry allocated $35,000 for Cabinet and the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) to identify and acquire a “possible mass burial site” on a plot of land within three months.

When contacted yesterday, Sands said the site had not been identified as yet.

As it relates to the burial of unclaimed victims, the action plan reads: “Cost assumes approximately 50 unclaimed victims at a burial cost of $1,500 each. A suggestion is that every three months a mass burial exercise can be conducted for the unclaimed.”

Several hundred people remain missing, though the latest figure has not been updated in recent weeks.