Red Cross: Hurricane Dorian Destroys 13,000 Homes in Bahamas

September 2, 2019 Updated: September 3, 2019

Hurricane Dorian made its third landfall as a Category 5 storm with 165 mph winds, slamming Grand Bahama Island overnight.

The storm is moving extremely slowly at 1 mph to the west, according to a 9 a.m. update from the National Hurricane Center (NHC). “Destructive hurricane-force winds [are] lashing Grand Bahama Island,” NHC officials wrote, adding that gusts are up to 200 mph and Dorian has brought an 18- to 23-foot storm surge.

According to the Red Cross, as many as 13,000 homes have been destroyed or severely damaged so far in Grand Bahama and the Abacos Islands in the Bahamas.

“On the island of Abaco, extensive flooding is believed to have contaminated wells with saltwater, creating an urgent need for clean water,” the Red Cross said in a statement on Sept. 2.

Sune Bulow, a Red Cross spokeswoman, said the full extent of the damage still isn’t clear, but initial reports are grim.

“We don’t yet have a complete picture of what has happened. But it is clear that Hurricane Dorian has had a catastrophic impact. We anticipate extensive shelter needs, alongside the need for short-term economic support, as well as for clean water and health assistance,” Bulow said.

Now, for residents in Grand Bahama, it’s a life-or-death situation, said the NHC.

“These hazards will continue over Grand Bahama Island during most of the day, causing extreme destruction on the island,” the agency wrote.

“Residents on Grand Bahama Island should not leave their shelter when the eye passes over, as winds will rapidly increase on the other side of the eye. Residents in the Abacos should continue to stay in their shelter until conditions subside later today,” the agency wrote.

The storm first made landfall on the Bahamas’ Abacos Islands on Sunday, packing winds of more than 185 mph. Videos shot on the island showed catastrophic damage wrought by the storm, including roofs torn from buildings, heavy flooding up to homes’ roofs, balconies ripped asunder, and smashed cars.

CNN also reported that Dorian claimed its first casualty in the Bahamas after an 8-year-old boy drowned.

The boy’s grandmother, Ingrid Mcintosh, said he died on the main 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.