NASSAU, BAHAMAS- Minister of Social Services Frankie Campbell yesterday said officials have done all they can to find missing people in the wake of Hurricane Dorian.
“We’ve had reports of persons missing or unaccounted for, and in the first instance that number would have been over 3,500,” said Campbell, as he contributed to the debate on the Disaster Preparedness and Response (Amendment) Bill, 2019.
“I’m pleased to report that the Department of Social Services is able to confirm that they have been able to contact or reconnect 950 persons.
“To date, the number of persons still missing or unaccounted for is 1,003 in Abaco and 205 in Grand Bahama.”
Campbell underscored these numbers only represented records from his ministry.
He continued: “There are persons who would have made reports directly to the police and there is that possibility of double recording.
“But according to our records, those names, I am advised will be published in the newspapers tomorrow, because we have done as much as I think we can do at this point, and we are now asking the general public to assist us.”
Hurricane Dorian battered parts of Grand Bahama and Abaco for three days, leaving thousands displaced and at least 61 dead.
Of that number, officers recovered 52 people from Abaco, of which 35 have been identified and nine people in Grand Bahama, of which all have been identified.
During his contribution to the debate, National Security Minister Marvin Dames said there are at least 30 persons who have been reported as missing in Grand Bahama, and 252 persons still unaccounted for in Abaco.
“We anticipate the discovery of more deceased persons as the search and rescue efforts continue,” Dames said.
“Therefore, we are appealing to family members to continue to file missing person reports with the police.”
Following the storm, the government evacuated hundreds of people from Grand Bahama and Abaco and housed them in nine shelters across New Providence.
Yesterday, Campbell said only three of those shelters will remain open by the end of the week – the Seventh Day Adventist Church on Wulff Road, Calvary Baptist Church and the Kendal G.L. Issacs Gymnasium.
He added the government is prepared to shelter storm victims, “as long as it is necessary”.