The Canadian Government said on Thursday that Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has discussed the onslaught of Hurricane Dorian on the Bahamas with the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) Chair and Prime Minister of St. Lucia Allen Chastanet.
“The Prime Minister expressed his sympathy for the loss of life and for all those affected by the destruction caused by Hurricane Dorian, mentioning his call with Prime Minister Hubert Minnis of The Bahamas earlier in the day, and Canada’s offer of CAN$500,000 in initial support and expertise to the disaster relief effort,” said the Canadian Government in a statement about the discussion with Chastanet.
“The prime ministers discussed the need for innovative solutions and greater resilience to address the devastating impacts of extreme weather events felt by the Caribbean and other Small Island Developing States,” it added.
It said Trudeau underscored Canada’s ongoing commitment to “building back better” and support for the region, noting in particular Canada’s 2017 pledge of CAN$100 million for Caribbean Reconstruction and Climate Resilience.
“The prime ministers also discussed their desire for stability in the broader region and a peaceful resolution to the crisis in Venezuela,” the statement said.
The Bahamas Government has confirmed 30 deaths to date from the Category 5 hurricane.
In updating the toll late Thursday, Minister of Health Dr. Duane Sands said the death count “could be staggering.”
“We are embalming bodies so that we have more capacity as new bodies are brought in,” said Dr. Sands, warning that the government is bracing for further influx of bodies.
“We need to get coolers into Abaco and Grand Bahama, because we believe that we may not have the capacity to store the bodies,” he added.
The health minister said some neighborhoods have been reduced to rubble by the catastrophic storm, adding that 95 percent of homes in other neighborhoods have been damaged or destroyed.
Dr. Sands said thousands of Bahamians are currently homeless because of the killer hurricane and that they are taking refuge in gymnasiums or churches.