Anguish and frustration swirled through the Bahamas on Thursday as the government raised the death toll from Hurricane Dorian to 30. Bahamian Health Minister Duane Sands said the number could climb “significantly higher,” just days after the then-Category 5 storm ravaged the archipelago.
The victims were from the Abaco and Grand Bahama islands, those hit hardest by the storm with winds up to 185 mph completely destroying everything in its path.
Residents who returned to a devastated community called “The Mudd,” composed mostly of Haitian immigrants, said no one had come for the at least nine bodies still in the rubble.
“Ain’t nobody come to get them,” Cardot Ked, a 43-year-old carpenter who has lived 25 years in Abaco, said. “If we could get to the next island, that’s the best thing we can do.”
The Bahamian health ministry said helicopters and boats are heading to the affected areas but are delayed by severe flooding.
Dorian hit Abaco on Sunday before battering Grand Bahama for more than a day.
The United Nations is sending eight tons of ready-to-eat meals and a British Royal Navy ship docked at Abaco is distributing supplies. Rhode Island National Guard troops are also heading to the island to help.
“People will be out of jobs for months,” 67-year-old woodcarver Gordon Higgs said. “They’ll be homeless, no food. Nothing.”
Hundreds of people gathered at the Abaco airport in hopes of getting one of the few seats on small planes evacuating the sick and elderly, but the process was marred by delays.
“They told us that the babies, the pregnant people and the elderly people were supposed to be first preference,” a 23-year-old said, adding that many are still waiting.
Dorian has since moved on to the Southeast coast of the U.S., where it lashed beachfront communities in North and South Carolina on Thursday.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.