Hurricane Dorian's Bahamas death toll rises to 44 as dozens of rescue, recovery crews descend on islands

The death toll from Hurricane Dorian in the Bahamas has risen to 44 after the monster storm battered the Grand Bahama and Abaco Islands for over a day and a half last week, according to the health minister.

The number of people killed in the hurricane, which struck the area as a dangerous Category 5 storm, was raised to 30 late last week.

Officials have warned that the number of deaths likely would increase as crews search devastated areas of the northern Bahamas, especially those cut off by flooding and debris.

An aerial view of floods and damages from Hurricane Dorian in Freeport on Thursday.

An aerial view of floods and damages from Hurricane Dorian in Freeport on Thursday. (ADAM DELGIUDICE/AFP/Getty Images)

Dorian also has been blamed for at least five deaths in the southeastern U.S. and one in Puerto Rico.

The storm wrecked homes on Grand Bahama Island.

The storm wrecked homes on Grand Bahama Island. (ADAM DELGIUDICE/AFP/Getty Images)

Dorian's punishing winds and torrential rain have battered the Grand Bahama and Abaco Islands, which were known for their marinas, golf courses and all-inclusive resorts.

Utter devastation was seen in Marsh Harbour on Great Abaco Island. 

Utter devastation was seen in Marsh Harbour on Great Abaco Island.  (UNICEF/PA via AP)

At one point during the hurricane, a Grand Bahama airport was under 6 feet of water.

DORIAN DEATH TOLL RISES TO 30 IN BAHAMAS, COULD CLIMB HIGHER

Major Clarence Ingram, a divisional commander of the Bahamas division for the Salvation Army, told Fox News some buildings were completely underwater.

The Mudd neighborhood on Friday after Hurricane Dorian slammed the Abaco Islands.

The Mudd neighborhood on Friday after Hurricane Dorian slammed the Abaco Islands. (REUTERS/Marco Bello)

"There are buildings completely swept away by the wind. It's just incredible, the amount of damage that's happened over there, of course, trees and cars and all the other stuff blown away," Ingram said.

Bahamian officials have said they received a "tremendous" number of calls from people in flooded homes. Desperate callers trying to find loved ones left messages with local radio stations.

The government has since announced a telephone hotline that Bahamians could call to report missing family members.

The United Nations and the International Red Cross quickly started mobilizing to deal with the unfolding humanitarian crisis in the wake of the most powerful hurricane on record ever to hit the Bahamas.

Damaged homes seen Friday after hurricane Dorian devastated Elbow Key Island. 

Damaged homes seen Friday after hurricane Dorian devastated Elbow Key Island.  (Jose Jimenez/Getty Images)

More than 900 members of the Bahamian police and military also responded to help with the hurricane relief, according to the government, which added that "large numbers of security forces" from Great Britain and the United States already were involved in search-and-rescue operations.

HURRICANE DORIAN'S DEVASTATION IN THE BAHAMAS REVEALED

Officials said some 120 Jamaican security personnel arrived in the Bahamas on Saturday evening and 100 troops from Trinidad and Tobago were expected to arrive Sunday to offer assistance.

People waiting to be evacuated to Nassau via a ferry at Marsh Harbor Port on Saturday. 

People waiting to be evacuated to Nassau via a ferry at Marsh Harbor Port on Saturday.  (AP Photo/Gonzalo Gaudenzi)

A government-chartered ferry transported about 250 people displaced by Dorian to Nassau, the capital of the Bahamas, arriving on Saturday after a 13-hour trip. They joined hundreds of other people from the Grand Bahama and Abaco Islands who escaped harsh conditions.

Meantime, the National Emergency Management Agency said in a statement on Sunday that no flights were allowed to charge for evacuations of displaced people and that consumer protection officials were investigating "incidences of price gouging."

Civil aviation officials also said they were making sure only approved aircraft providing aid could fly to the hardest-hit islands and were restricting air space over those devastated areas to prevent accidents.

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Officials already have approved 200 private planes and said that "saturated airspace was creating a volatile situation."

Fox News’ Travis Fedschun and The Associated Press contributed to this report.