A spokesperson for the Bahamas National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) said on Wednesday that the government has compiled a list of 2,500 missing persons after Hurricane Dorian devastated parts of the island.
He said the list has not been checked against government records of people who are staying at shelters or who have been evacuated from the areas most impacted by the storm.
The official death toll from the catastrophic Category 5 storm which struck the Bahamas on September 1 stands at 50 as of Monday evening.
Aid workers and residents have cast doubt on the government’s official death toll, and suggest thousands more could be dead or missing as rescuers clear through the wreckage.
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Emergency services in the Bahamas say there are 2,500 people registered as missing from the islands devastated by Hurricane Dorian, suggesting that the number of deaths from the Category 5 storm may be significantly higher than the current official count.
The official death toll from the Royal Bahamas Police Force stands at 50 as of Monday evening. Forty-two bodies were found on Abaco, and eight were recovered on Grand Bahama as rescue efforts on the devastated islands continue.
Bahamas National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) Spokesman Carl Smith said at a press briefing on Wednesday that the island’s Department of Social Services has compiled a list of 2,500 missing persons based on local reports.
The list has not been checked against government records of people who are staying at shelters or who have been evacuated, he said, adding that some individuals who were transported from Abaco and Grand Bahama have not yet registered with social services.
“Some of the government lists will have to be converted into digital format to allow for more effective cross-checking,” he said. “As we are able to cross-reference our data sets, we will be able to inform family members and reunite survivors with loved ones.”
More than five-thousand individuals have been evacuated to New Providence, the most populous island in the Bahamas where the capital city of Nassau is located, as of September 11, Smith said. Commercial flights have been allowed to resume flights to Abaco on a limited basis
Read more: Here are some of the organizations helping on the islands, and how you can contribute to the victims impacted in the Bahamas
Aid workers and residents have cast doubt on the government’s official death toll. Observers on the ground told the Bahamas Press that the actual count could be as high as 3,000 in just two neighborhoods on the Abaco Islands.
DorianPeopleSearch.com, a platform set up by volunteers to report missing people after Dorian, reported over 4,500 people in its database whose status remains unknown.
Duane Sands, the Bahamas Minister of Health, told the New York Times on Thursday that the death toll “could be staggering.”
But Sands on Sunday said allegations that the government is covering up the actual death toll are “false” and “unfortunate.”
“The priority is find those …read more
Source:: Business Insider