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  1. ITV Report

Bahamas left devastated in wake of Hurricane Dorian but some residents staying behind to rebuild

  • Video report by ITV News Washington Correspondent Robert Moore

The Bahamas have been left devastated in the wake of Hurricane Dorian, as families evacuate the worst hit islands.

Streets are filled with smashed cars, snapped power cables, shattered trees and deep silence.

The Category 5 storm hit the low-lying islands last Sunday, slowly churning over Abaco Island and Grand Bahama and leaving communities isolated by floodwaters and debris.

The latest death toll stood at 43, Prime Minister Hubert Minnis said 35 peole died on Abaco and eight on Grand Bahama island.

The devastation from above. Credit: ITV News

Hundreds of people have evacuated the islands on airplanes and ships, many lost their homes when Hurricane Dorian struck.

One woman, who fled the Bahamas, told ITV News: "When my home collapsed, I felt like I almost died, because a lot of people died and I thought I was going to be one of them.

"We just started praying and everything, and we survived."

No official figures were available, but much of the population of Marsh Harbour, home to most of the roughly 20,000 residents of Abaco, seemed to have already left.

Abaco Island has been left devastated by Hurricane Dorian. Credit: ITV News

Many were staying with relatives in the capital, Nassau, others with family in Florida and other parts of the United States.

The hurricane was the most powerful to hit the northwestern Bahamas in recorded history.

The U.S Coast Guard said it has rescued a total of 290 people in the northern Bahamas.

Bahamian officials banned non-aid flights over Grand Bahama and Abaco Islands.

Residents have evacuated from the worst hit Bahama Islands. Credit: ITV News

The National Emergency Management agency also threatened to revoke flight permission from any pilots charging fees to evacuate people from the islands.

As the clean-up operation begins, survivors have expressed their frustration at the slow pace of the rescue and evacuation effort.

Some are blaming the country's leadership.

Edith Davis, Abaco resident, said: "Where is the prime minister?

"At a time like this, we need him and can't find him."

Destruction caused by Hurricane Dorian is seen from the air. Credit: AP

While Robin Lafrance, Abaco resident, pleaded for help from the worldwide community.

"Please anybody at there, if you can help the island of Abaco, please do that," he said.

"We are in desperate need of help."

But some Abaco residents have chosen to stay behind, on an island pulverized by nature, they are determined to start the task of rebuilding.

Moses Monesting, Abaco resident, told ITV News: "I would say, it makes sense for the women, children and elderly to go, but I'm a guy, I have to stay.

"Somebody has to stay, to help clean this up."