Hurricane Dorian damage in Bahamas estimated at $7B, recovery efforts underway

Early estimates are saying Hurricane Dorian caused $7 billion worth of damage in the Bahamas. Catastrophe modeling business Karen Clark & Company released the estimate after analyzing wind and water damage that it said caused “catastrophic” losses. The estimate didn’t include costs of damage to infrastructure or autos.

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Dorian was a Category 5 hurricane when it hit the Bahamas Sunday. The storm’s forward momentum dropped after it made landfall on Abaco Island, and then it stalled for a time over Grand Bahama Island. The storm spent more than 24 hours pounding the Bahamas, with record wind speeds of 185 mph and reported storm surge of 20 feet on some islands.

Extensive damage and destruction in the aftermath of Hurricane Dorian is seen in Abaco, Bahamas, Thursday, Sept. 5, 2019. The storm’s devastation has come into sharper focus as the death toll climbed to 20 and many people emerged from shelters to che

Bahamian officials said at least 23 people were killed in the storm, and that figure is expected to rise as the full extent of the storm’s damage is explored.

“We are extremely saddened by the loss of life, homes destroyed and landscape damaged,” officials said in a statement. “The spirit and resolve of our people remains strong, and we will continue to help everyone impacted.”

It could have been even worse. New Providence, the most heavily populated island in the Bahamas, was not hit as hard as other areas, according to Karen Clark & Company.

Government officials said relief efforts are underway. The U.S. has also been helping the country, with the Coast Guard airlifting dozens of people out of hard-hit areas. American search and rescue teams have been deployed to the ground in the Bahamas, and USAID has delivered supplies to distribute to the storm’s victims.

Cars sit submerged in water from Hurricane Dorian in Freeport, Bahamas, Tuesday, Sept. 3, 2019. Dorian is beginning to inch northwestward after being stationary over the Bahamas, where its relentless winds have caused catastrophic damage and flooding

Nonprofit groups have also been collecting money and supplies. Tourism officials have provided a list of trusted partners for anyone who wants to donate to relief efforts, including the Bahamas Red Cross Society and the National Association of The Bahamas. Bahamas.com has the full list and instructions for how to offer support to the recovery efforts.

George Bolter, left, and his parents walk through the remains of his home destroyed by Hurricane Dorian in the Pine Bay neighborhood of Freeport, Bahamas, Wednesday, Sept. 4, 2019. Rescuers trying to reach drenched and stunned victims in the Bahamas

There are more than 700 islands in the Bahamas. Ellison “Tommy” Thompson, the deputy director of the Bahamas Ministry of Tourism & Aviation, asked any travelers to keep their plans for vacations to islands that were not heavily damaged by the storm.

Grand Bahama International Airport and Leonard Thompson International Airport were closed until further notice. But many other Bahamas airports remained open, as were Nassau ports and hotels in Nassau and Paradise Island.

Extensive damage and destruction in the aftermath of Hurricane Dorian is seen in an area called "The Mud" at Marsh Harbour in Great Abaco Island, Bahamas on Thursday, Sept. 5, 2019. (Al Diaz/Miami Herald via AP)

“While we are still processing the impact that Hurricane Dorian has had on our country, we must stay strong for our friends, loved ones and neighbors on Grand Bahama Island and The Abacos,” Thompson said. “We appreciate the outpouring of support from citizens around the world and we ask that you continue to donate, continue to send prayers and continue to visit Nassau, Paradise Island and the Out Islands that were not affected.”

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