Hurricane Dorian has left the Grand Bahama in complete devastation as it rattles the coast of North Carolina.
While officials report that the death toll rises at 30, they warn that it will further increase into staggering numbers. Thousands are still missing in the wake of Dorian, many of them children according to news outlet Reuters.
Dorian is recorded as the worst hurricane to ever hit the Bahamas with an estimated 70,000 people displaced in its wake according to the United Nations. Survivors are in immediate need of water, food, and shelter. Residents have turned to widespread looting with the lack of resources as many are still in search of their loved ones.
Retrieval operations have been launched as body bags and refrigerated coolers for storing corpses are sent to Abaco and other areas, according to Health Minister Dr. Duane Sands.
“The public needs to prepare for unimaginable information about the death toll and the human suffering,” Sands told Guardian Radio 96.9 FM.
“Make no bones about it, the numbers will be far higher,” he said. “It is going to be significantly higher than that. And it’s just a matter of retrieving those bodies, making sure we understand how they died. It seems like we are splitting hairs, but not everyone who died, died in the storm.”
The public remains hopeful as search and rescue operations led by the US Coast Guard saved 201 residents as of Thursday, CNN reports. International aid efforts have been dispatched to reach stranded survivors and launch feeding programs for the displaced.