Hurricane Dorian: 13,000 Homes Destroyed in One Group of Islands Alone in the Bahamas, Says Salvation Army

Hurricane Dorian has destroyed at least 13,000 homes in one group of islands in the Bahamas alone, according to the Salvation Army on Monday.

Dorian, the strongest storm on the planet this year, made three separate landfalls on the Bahamas as a Category 5 storm over the past few days, before it was downgraded to a Category 4. Earlier today, Bahamas Prime Minister Hubert Minnis confirmed at least five deaths on the Abaco Islands caused by the hurricane. "We are in the midst of a historic tragedy," he said at a press conference.

Emergency responders have been overwhelmed in dealing with the storm, prompting some residents in South Florida to pull together resources to help the Bahamians. The Salvation Army, which has numerous volunteers assisting victims of the storm across the Bahamas, estimated that at least 13,000 homes have been wrecked by the devastating hurricane in one group of islands alone, according to USA Today.

Captain Mike Michels with the Salvation Army in Kingston, Jamaica told the newspaper that the situation on the ground looked ominous. "We are seeing photos, videos of people up to their waists in water in their homes, and the water is rising," Michels said. "The government is telling people to cut holes in their ceilings so they can't be trapped if the water rushes in. It's crazy."

The International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies also said as many as 13,000 homes are likely to have either been demolished or severely damaged by the storm, according to The Guardian.

Minnis on Monday called for the country to unite in the face of the disaster. "This is the time for us as Bahamians to show our love, our care and our compassion," he said. "Your compassion at this most difficult hour will bring healing and hope to those who are traumatised by this destructive hurricane."

Later that evening, Minnis posted an update to Twitter, clarifying and restating the information he went over during the press conference.

"Today at my national briefing I was deeply saddened to report that thus far there have been 5 confirmed deaths in Abaco as the result of #HurricaneDorain [sic]. We are in the midst of a historic tragedy in parts of the northern Bahamas," he tweeted. "Dorian is still battering Grand Bahama Island and will continue for many more hours. We know that there are a number of people in serious distress. We pray for their safety and will provide relief and assistance as soon as possible."

Bahamas Hurricane Dorian
In this NOAA GOES-East satellite handout image, Hurricane Dorian, now a Cat. 4 storm, moves slowly past Grand Bahama Island on September 2, 2019 in the Atlantic Ocean. Dorian moved slowly past the Bahamas at times just 1 mph as it unleashed massive flooding and winds of 150 m.p.h. NOAA/Getty