Bahamian hospitals overwhelmed as Rubio tours by air, some islanders return by cruise ship

Jimena Tavel, Taylor Dolven and David Ovalle, Miami Herald on

Published in Weather News

GRAND BAHAMA, The Bahamas -- With the death toll rising to 30 across the islands of Grand Bahama and the Abacos, relief efforts continued Friday as a Florida cruise ship arrived with tons of supplies and authorities worked feverishly to find bodies, reach obliterated neighborhoods and treat victims of Hurricane Dorian.

The situation on the ground remained dire.

In the Abacos, hundreds of injured people were waiting to be airlifted. Florida U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio, in a tweet on Friday, urged the federal government to get "resources approved immediately" to help Abaco.

"Abaco is impossible to supply right now rendering it increasingly uninhabitable for the approximately 2000 people on the ground," Rubio wrote in a series of tweets Friday as he toured the disaster zone via U.S. Coast Guard helicopter.

Rubio toured the affected islands alongside Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis. Rubio also wrote that industrial fuel tanks in Grand Bahama island had flooded, causing oil to spill into the sea. U.S. government hazmat teams were arriving soon, but the spills had been contained, he wrote.

Also, the main hospital in Grand Bahama was "increasingly desperate" for supplies, he wrote.


At the Rand Memorial Hospital in Grand Bahama's capital, Freeport, four people were waiting to be transferred to Nassau for medical care -- anyone needing surgeries needed to leave the island. The facility was holding the body of one victim, an unidentified man.

Coast Guard helicopters touched down throughout the morning, delivering medical supplies and an IV pump. An officer ran inside the lobby and asked hospital administrator Sharon Williams if she had any room for patients.

"All of our patient rooms were flooded," Williams said. "We had to close the hospital, except for 10 beds that are fully occupied."

Government officials and relief workers had yet to reach the Back-of-Town neighborhood, where some of the homes were still standing but are unlivable. Front yards are piled high with water-soaked furniture, clothes and mattresses.


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