Hurricane dorlan

Devastation in Great Abaco
A number of people are being evacuated from Great Abaco to the capital, Nassau

Authorities in the Bahamas have defended their response to Hurricane Dorian after it hit the island last week.

Residents on the Abaco islands have accused the government of failing to provide assistance and prevent looting.

Dorian ripped through the Bahamas as a category five hurricane with winds gusts reaching 300km/h (200mph).

So far 43 people are confirmed dead however the number is expected to rise. Several thousand are now homeless.

Carl Smith, spokesperson for the Bahamas’ National Emergency Management Agency (Nema) said he was satisfied with the response.

Damaged homes in Hope Town, Bahamas
Hurricane Dorian ripped through the Bahamas last Sunday

“I am satisfied that Nema with its partners is doing everything it can to move as effectively and as efficiently as it can, given the circumstances. We are dealing with a disaster.”

He added that more experts were being deployed which would help improve the situation.

In Marsh Harbour in the Abacos, 90% of infrastructure is damaged or destroyed.

Tepeto Davis, one resident of Marsh Harbour, said: “We’ve had to funnel gasoline out of destroyed cars to get injured people back and forth. There’s no food, no medicine and no water.”

A destroyed house in Marsh Harbour
Some 70,000 people are in need of food and shelter, according to the UN World Food Programme

Mark Green, head of the US Agency for International Development (USAID) said he had taken a flight to observe the damage caused by the storm on Grand Bahama and the Abacos islands.

“I was struck by the focused nature of the devastation,” he told Reuters news agency. “There are parts of Abaco and the Bahamas that don’t show a great deal of damage, and then there are clusters and communities that were devastated, almost as though nuclear bombs were dropped on them.”

USAID says it is working with the government of the Bahamas to provide emergency shelter, medical care, food and water.

Thousands of evacuees are fleeing Abaco for Nassau. A number of passenger planes, cruise liners and government boats and ships have arrived to transport evacuees to Nassau, the Bahamas’ capital, and Florida.

Evacuees queue to board a plane
Abaco residents are fleeing the island for Nassau

About 3,500 people have been evacuated to Nassau so far. On Saturday, a cruise liner carrying 1,400 people docked in Riviera Beach, Florida.

Officials have acknowledged that Nassau will struggle to house all of the people requiring shelter.

According to the United Nations’ World Food Programme, some 70,000 people are in need of food and shelter. The islands have a population of about 400,000.

On board a UK ship offering aid and rescue to the Bahamas

The US Coast Guard and Navy are shipping in relief supplies.

Hurricane Dorian has diminished into a post-tropical cyclone. On Saturday, it smashed into the Canadian province of Nova Scotia, toppling trees and cutting power to more than 450,000 people