By Rachel Farmer
Anglican Communion News Service
The impact of Hurricane Dorian on the Bahamas has been worse than imagined, according to the Bishop of the Bahamas and the Turks and Caicos Island, Laish Boyd.
In a pastoral letter about how his diocese had been affected he said: “This is a national tragedy which grieves and devastates all of us… The damage has been catastrophic. The human impact has been heart-breaking. The relationship between people and the sea in the Bahamas is intimate. Many people make their living from fishing. This hurricane has seen a friend become an enemy.”
Hurricane Dorian struck the Bahamas with 185 mph winds and gusts of 220 mph, also bringing storm surges of 18-23 feet above sea level and wreaking three days of havoc across the islands. The islands of Abaco and Grand Bahamas had the highest death toll, which is currently at 52 and expected to rise. 1,300 people are still unaccounted for.
[More than three weeks after the storm first hit on September 1, “It takes just seconds here to be overwhelmed by the stench of death,” CNN reported from East Grand Bahama. A team of medics from the United States “identified at least 30 locations where they smelled corpses — even if they couldn’t see them.”]
Bishop Laish said thousands had been left homeless and people in informal settlements were especially vulnerable. He said, “Abaco, Grand Bahama, and the whole Bahamas will not be the same for a long time. There are years of healing, settling and resettling, rebuilding and redevelopment before us. Entire local economies have to be rebuilt.”