Bahamas Health Minister Duane Sands acknowledged Tuesday that more than 200 people lost their lives as a result of Hurricane Dorian passing through the Atlantic archipelago at the beginning of last September.
Sands said in statements to local media that the time has come for the country to recognize that more than 200 people lost their lives as a result of the historic storm.
The Bahamas Executive defended until the end of last November a figure of 70 dead and 282 missing.
Sands said the relevant authorities should make the decision to confirm that more than 200 people died as a result of the storm that hit the archipelago since September 1 last year.
“At some point, the Government of the Bahamas will have to declare that more than 200 people died during Hurricane Dorian, but I cannot say it officially, since it is a decision between several departments,” the official said.
“We have to meet to decide. We want to move all pending issues to an agreed consensus or conclusion,” Sands said.
Last Thursday it was scheduled to hold a meeting of several agencies between the ministries of Health, Legal Affairs, National Security, the Office of the Attorney General and the relevant agencies to address the issue, although the date was not yet determined.
“The problem is how long we are going to keep the remains in refrigerators, particularly in the Abaco Islands,” he said.
Local law establishes a period of 7 years to declare a missing person dead, which is why the Health Minister said it may be necessary to amend the current legislation.
“We must ensure that, whatever decision is made, it is properly consulted,” he said.
Hurricane Dorian caused $ 7 billion worth of damage to the Bahamas, according to preliminary figures from the Bahamian authorities.
The destruction caused Dorian was considered one of the most devastating storms in the history of the Atlantic archipelago.
The damage was concentrated in the Abaco and Grand Bahama islands, in the northwest of the archipelago, but other areas of this Atlantic territory practically suffered no damage.
One of the groups most affected by the hurricane was that of Haitian immigrants in an irregular situation in the Bahamas.