Sep 8, 2019

Corpses Strewn, People Missing a Week After Dorian Hit the Bahamas

Moore's Island
The Bahamas
by
Kirk Semple
,
New York Times
Herbert Luberal fled Pigeon Peas when the hurricane approached. He returned this weekend to check on a friend, and found him, alive. Photo: Daniele Volpe, The New York Times
Herbert Luberal fled Pigeon Peas when the hurricane approached. He returned this weekend to check on a friend, and found him, alive. Photo: Daniele Volpe, The New York Times

The corpse was lying on its back, dressed in black shorts and a red shirt, arms outstretched, face toward the sky.

There is no telling where the man died, or exactly when, or how. But Hurricane Dorian’s swirling, pounding floodwaters receded early last week to reveal his body sprawled amid the wreckage of a vast shantytown here in Marsh Harbour, the capital of the Abaco Islands.

On Sunday, a full week after the hurricane hit, the corpse was still where it had come to rest.

The extent of the damage here and elsewhere in the Abaco Islands is so great, the work of assessing it so arduous and the Bahamian government so overwhelmed that a full accounting of the missing and dead may not be known for weeks or even months.

The official death toll attributed to the hurricane remained at 44 but there is no estimate yet of how many people are unaccounted for. The Bahamian security forces are still responding to reports of missing and trapped people, officials said, and teams of forensic investigators are still combing through the storm debris.