Briefing journalists in Geneva, Jens Laerke from the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) said that initial assessments from Grand Bahama and the Abaco Islands – where the storm made landfall and is effectively stationary as of Tuesday morning, local time – were “rather catastrophic”.
He added: “As we heard, it made landfall in the Abaco Islands; the population there is a little more than 17,000 people, we are concerned for all of them. It is now over the Grand Bahama, the population there is about 51,000 people and we are concerned for every one of them. The Prime Minister of the Bahamas Initially classified as a Category 5 hurricane at the weekend when it hit the Bahamas’ north-west with wind gusts of over 320 kilometres per hour, Dorian has now been downgraded two notches.
But it still has the potential to be deadly, regardless of its rating, according to the World Meteorological Organization (WMO).
“It was the strongest on record to make landfall in the Bahamas,” said WMO spokesperson Clare Nullis. “At its peak, it had maximum sustained winds of 270 kilometres an hour, which is absolutely huge, with gusts of up to 321 kilometres an hour. It’s life-threatening it’s devastating; it’s now weakened to the equivalent of a Category 3 hurricane. The winds are still devastating, the storm surge is still life-threatening and the rainfall is still torrential.”