Hurricane Dorian may have severely damaged or completely destroyed as many as 13,000 homes in the Bahamas Islands, according to initial assessments from local authorities and the Red Cross.
Hurricane Dorian smashed into the Abaco Islands of the Bahamas with 185 mph sustained winds and gusts of more than 220 mph yesterday.
Since then the hurricane has slowly ground its way west along Grand Bahamas Isle, which has experienced hurricane force-winds for hours now.
Weakened slightly at around 155 mph sustained winds, hurricane Dorian continues to impact the Bahamas heavily and loss of property and lives is expected to be significant.
The Red Cross has released some information on the damage wrought in the Bahamas by hurricane Dorian, with as many as 13,000 residential properties thought potentially damaged or completely destroyed by the storm.
Sune Bulow, Head of the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies’ (IFRC) Emergency Operation Centre in Geneva, commented, “We don’t yet have a complete picture of what has happened. But it is clear that Hurricane Dorian has had a catastrophic impact. We anticipate extensive shelter needs, alongside the need for short-term economic support, as well as for clean water and health assistance.”
In addition, fresh water wells are believed to have been contaminated with salt water and as a result there is an urgent need for clean water.
For those affected by hurricane Dorian’s devastation, the need for air is clear and the picture emerging from the Bahamas appears as bad as that seen from some of the islands affected in the Caribbean by 2017’s hurricanes.
The full extent of the property damage in the Bahamas will not be known for some days, as much of the islands are without communications still with Dorian still overhead.
It’s expected the local insurance industry will face a major loss and likely these insurers will need reinsurance support to pay claims for the damages from hurricane Dorian.
The all-important tourism industry will suffer a significant blow in the Bahamas as well, which could exacerbate the insurance and reinsurance loss through business interruption related claims.
Commercial insurance claims, yachts and other coastal assets claims are also expected to be significant.
RMS explained that previous category 3 and 4 hurricanes that hit Grand Bahama and Abaco have caused insurance and reinsurance market losses of up to $1.3 billion, in current dollar terms. Hurricane Dorian could well eclipse these, if the early estimate of numbers of properties affected proves accurate.
But at this point in time it is the human impact that needs immediate attention, with responders expected to try to reach the affected island as soon as hurricane Dorian moves on and conditions improve somewhat.