Trump says Hurricane Dorian death toll in Bahamas would be higher without his help, as bodies still being counted

Bahama leaders believe that thousands could still be missing

David Maclean
New York
Saturday 07 September 2019 13:31 BST
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Donald Trump shows off map purporting to support false claim that Hurricane Dorian was heading for Alabama

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Donald Trump says Hurricane Dorian’s death toll in the Bahamas would have been significantly higher without his help - but leaders on the island still have no idea what the final death toll will be.

In a tweet on Saturday morning the US president thanked Bahamian prime minister Hubert Minnis for his "very gracious and kind words" that "without the help of the United States and me, their would have been many more casualties".

He then went on to thank FEMA, the US Coast Guard, and the "brave" people on the Bahamas.

Bahama leaders believe hundreds and perhaps thousands are still missing in the archipelago nation of about 400,000 people, even as the official death toll rose only to 43 as of late on Friday.

The most powerful hurricane on record to hit the Bahamas levelled some neighbourhoods, swallowed others with storm surges and caused what one official described as a "staggering" number of deaths.

The medical chief of staff at Princess Margaret Hospital in Nassau said two refrigerated, 40-foot trucks would be needed to hold the "staggering" number of bodies likely to be found.

"We've ordered lots of body bags," said Dr Caroline Burnett-Garraway.

The United Nations estimated 70,000 people are in "immediate need of life-saving assistance" such as food, water and shelter. But the Red Cross said aid missions have been difficult as there are no places for helicopters to land in parts of the archipelago.

The aftermath of the hurricane could also prove deadly - the risk of outbreaks of diarrhoea and waterborne diseases is high as drinking water may be tainted with sewage, according to the Pan American Health Organisation, which described the situation for some people on Abaco island as "desperate."

Dorian also devastated parts of the Outer Banks Islands in North Carolina, on Friday and it continued to push northward along the US Atlantic coast early on Saturday.

It brought tropical storm force winds to southeastern Massachusetts and Nantucket Island and Martha's Vineyard on Saturday morning, according to an advisory from the Miami-based National Hurricane Centre.

Agencies contributed to this report

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