PM: ‘We are doing our best’ on missing people count

PM: ‘We are doing our best’ on missing people count
A home in Marsh Harbour, Abaco, left in ruin, nearly two moths after the passage of Hurricane Dorian. (PHOTO: Royston Jones Jr.)

NASSAU, BAHAMAS – The government is doing its best to keep track of the number of dead and missing people in the aftermath of Hurricane Dorian, Prime Minister Dr. Hubert Minnis said yesterday.

Eyewitness News Online reported from an internal National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) situation report, which detailed there are 346 people still missing two months after the passage of the Category 5 storm, earlier this week.

Minnis addressed the numbers as he closed debate on the Disaster Reconstruction Authority Bil, 2019.

“It’s very difficult for us to have an exact count on the numbers of missing individuals, because you would recall that there are a lot of undocumented individuals,” Minnis said.

Prime Minister Dr. Hubert Minnis.

“If they are undocumented, we won’t have records of them and therefore you may find that that number may fluctuate.

“But we are doing our best to keep count of and reporting to the nation at large as to the count, number of dead as well as number of missing.”

Hurricane Dorian, the strongest storm to ever hit Northwest Bahamas, leveled the two largest of the six shantytowns on Abaco – which also housed the largest number of undocumented migrants.

Officials have not confirmed the number of missing people to the press since early October.

Minister of National Security Marvin Dames has explained an official report must come from police in order for the Coroner’s Court to issue a death certificate.

The official death count from the storm currently stands at 67, however that number is expected to rise.

“We are only aware of 67 [deaths] and we must remember that there was excessive storm surge,” Minnis added yesterday.

“The ocean would have moved in and individuals may have been swept out, so there is a possibility that later on we may find bodies on some remote cays and other places that may have been washed and removed by the ocean. That’s a possibility.”