Government sources have confirmed the deaths of at least five people, including a 7-year-old boy, as a result of Hurricane Dorian. But local press is reporting that many more have lost their lives in at least one part of the country known as the Abaco Islands where “bodies are floating.”
The islands are collectively populated by about 17,000 people made up of mostly fishermen and manual laborers and migrants from Haiti, according to The New York Times.
“Live scenes today in Marsh Harbour Abaco where Hurricane Dorian moved in with winds of 185mph on Sunday, Sept. 1st. Scores have died as a result of mass flooding,” the publication reported Monday with a video showing extensive flooding.
Reporters from the publication also described the devastation they witnessed in Abaco: "The place is a disaster, no business is operable and bodies are floating around Big Cay. The concern is nobody knows how many people died, and they feel when the water subsides some bodies will be washed out to sea."
Bahamian Prime Minister Hubert Minnis previously announced, according to The Washington Post, that parts of Marsh Harbour, a town of more than 6,000, appeared to be “underwater,” as multiple reports online showed desperate residents seeking shelter from rising floodwaters in damaged homes.
One of those residents was identified as Gertha Joseph, a 34-year-old mother of a 4-month-old who said neighbors tried to swim across the rushing waters to a cluster of houses “but the water just took them.”
“Some people, they didn’t get to make it,” Joseph said before begging people to pray.
“Pray for us, pray for us, me and my baby, everyone who stayed in the apartment building, we stayed right here, please pray for us, pray for Abaco,” she pleaded. “I’m begging you, pray for us.”
Lachino Mcintosh, the 7-year-old boy who was the first recorded death from Hurricane Dorian, was also in the region when he drowned as his family tried to escape.
His sister is still missing as his grandmother, Ingrid Mcintosh, struggles to deal with the loss of the one person to tell her “I love you” in a very long time.
“All I could say is that my granddaughter called my daughter from Abaco and tell my [other] daughter my grandson dead. That’s it. I don’t know nothing more…I don’t know what really happened,” she said, struggling to keep herself composed in an interview with the local Eyewitness News. “I think they say he drowned.”
She then explained why his death was so painful for her.
“I just see my grandson just two days ago. My grandson tell me he love me. When he [was going] back to Abaco he turned around and he said ‘grandma, I love you.’ You know what I tell my grandson? I said, ‘It feels so good because I haven’t heard that in a long time from no one,’” she said breaking down.
Thousands of homes have been damaged on the Abaco Islands and the United States Coast Guard is currently conducting rescues in the region, a spokesman told The New York Times Monday.
Elsewhere in the country, local Member of Parliament Iram Lewis, shared video of The Grand Bahama International Airport being overwhelmed by floodwaters from Hurricane Dorian.
"We're getting a lot of distress calls, persons needing rescue, but we cannot get to them right now," Lewis said.
Hurricane Dorian, which made landfall in the Bahamas as a Category 5 storm is just finally beginning to move away from the country as a Category 2 storm. Now with 110 m.p.h winds, the storm is expected to start turning north near Florida’s eastern coast by Wednesday, the National Weather Service said.