Hurricane Dorian has wreaked havoc on The Bahamas. Although the hurricane has passed, the country is still undergoing a humanitarian crisis. News outlets have moved on to cover other information, so few people have a solid understanding of the suffering of those displaced by the hurricane.
The Bahamas underwent roughly $7 billion in loss of property and damage to infrastructure. The Grand Bahamas and Abaco Islands, some of the country’s most important economic regions, were hit the hardest. Many individuals were employed in the manufacturing, tourism, and brewing industries in those areas. Thousands of people have lost their jobs and livelihoods. According to local reporter Ava Turnquest, the level of devastation and loss of life and infrastructure is unprecedented. People have lost everything, and entire families have been hurt physically and economically.
So far, the official death toll is just over 50. The number, however, is probably an underestimate. We will likely never know the exact death toll, as possibly thousands of people were trapped on the island, then their bodies were lost to the sea. Nobody knows exactly how many people were evacuated or how many chose to stay behind. Bodies may also be trapped under the rubble, which could lead to the spread of infectious diseases.
Hurricane Dorian has displaced thousands of people. Most traveled to Nassau, which led to a housing crisis. Although a few hotels had room, many people were still left homeless. The government has created 12 shelters to serve displaced people, but they are becoming overcrowded, leading to unsanitary conditions and the risk of violence. Meeting the basic needs of people, such as providing them with food and water, is becoming increasingly difficult.
Another issue is a lack of access to clean water. Hurricane Dorian destroyed hardware stores, which has led to the possibility of chemicals leaking into groundwater. An oil spill has also been documented, which may also lead to water contamination. Although people are working to prevent the oil from spreading further, we still don’t know the spill’s entire impact. Chances are there are additional oil spills that have yet to be discovered.
It will take The Bahamas years to recover from Hurricane Dorian. People have been left homeless, and others have lost their lives. The country remains vulnerable as everyone has begun the long journey of rebuilding the lives and communities.