An eight-year-old boy is the first person to die after a ‘catastrophic’ category 5 storm hit the Bahamas, according to reports from local media.
Hurricane Dorian is the biggest storm to hit the Caribbean island in modern times, with 220mph winds wreaking immeasurable havoc and causing masses of people to evacuate.
Lachino McIntosh reportedly drowned after his family attempted to relocate and leave their Abaco home, with local media reporting his sister is also missing.
Bahamas Press confirmed the news in a tweet:
The boy’s grandmother, Ingrid McIntosh, told Eyewitness News her daughter found the body of her son, who she believed drowned in the rising waters. McIntosh added that her granddaughter, Lachino’s sister, is also missing.
The grandmother told the news station:
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 they said he drowned.
How am I supposed to feel? My grandson is dead. I just saw my grandson about two days ago, my grandson just told me he loved me. He turned round and he said ‘grammy I love you’.
Ingrid went on to explain how the young boy’s body had been taken to one of the clinics on the island by his mother. Authorities are yet to confirm these reports.
Shortly after the hurricane struck, footage started emerging showing floodwaters rising, immersing cars and houses in the storm’s wake as roofs were torn off family homes.
Hurricane Dorian struck the northernmost islands of The Bahamas on Sunday (September 1), hitting land in Elbow Cay in the Abaco Islands at 12:40pm, WUSF News reports.
The storm made a second landfall near Marsh Harbour on Great Abaco Island at 2pm, with large waves and winds of approximately 185mph. The Guardian reports Dorian is the strongest Atlantic hurricane landfall on record, tied with the 1935 Labor Day hurricane.
Bahamian prime minister Hubert Minnis said in a news conference that a ‘monster storm’ was destroying the region, adding: ‘This will put us to a test that we’ve never confronted before’.
This is probably the most sad and worst day of my life to address the Bahamian people. I just want to say as a physician I’ve been trained to withstand many things, but never anything like this.
According to a statement from the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC), as many as 13,000 homes have been severely damaged or destroyed as a result of Dorian, and extensive flooding has created an ‘urgent need’ for clean water as wells become contaminated with saltwater.
Sune Bulow, Head of the IFRC Emergency Operation Centre in Geneva, said:
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.
The IFRC said it has released 250,000 Swiss francs ($252,000) ‘to bolster the first wave’ of its response as it provides around 500 families with emergency shelter assistance.
In its latest update, the National Hurricane Center (NHC) described the hurricane as a ‘life-threatening situation’, adding: ‘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.
Warning that residents should continue to stay in their shelter until conditions subside later today, the NHC said wind gusts of up to 200mph and storm surges 18 to 23 feet above normal tide levels will continue to cause ‘extreme destruction’ on the island over the course of the day.
The organisation also warned Dorian will move ‘dangerously close’ to Florida’s east coast tonight through Wednesday evening. And with many worrying that their holiday plans will be ruined – specifically those headed to Disney World in Orlando – the park has released a statement which says they are ‘operating under normal conditions’.
The park continued, as per AL.com:
We are closely monitoring the path of the projected weather, as nothing is more important than the safety of our guests and cast members.
But with one person already dead and countless more missing in the Bahamas, should our attention really be focused on a select few’s potentially ruined holidays? Or should it instead be focused on those people who don’t have the means to deal with the aftermath of Dorian, and whose homes and lives have been inexplicably destroyed by this catastrophic storm?
Instead of complaining about a missed opportunity or a delayed holiday, our concentration should be focused on those directly impacted by the devastation of the hurricane – such as one mother and her son who were forced to hide in a closet while the storm passed, as per the Independent.
Once the hurricane has passed the Florida coast, Dorian’s predicted path would then take it north along the US coast towards Georgia and North and South Carolina, with South Carolina’s governor, Henry McMaster, ordering the evacuation of his state’s entire coastline from Monday at noon.
Rest in peace, Lachino.
If you have experienced a bereavement and would like to speak with someone in confidence contact Cruse Bereavement Care via their national helpline on 0808 808 1677.
International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies
National Hurricane Center
National Hurricane Center
American Red Cross
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