TORONTO -- The storm that already walloped the Virgin Islands, the Bahamas and North Carolina hit far-eastern Canada with hurricane-force winds for much of Sunday, knocking out power to hundreds of thousands of people before weakening further late in the day.
In the Bahamas, where Dorian hit the hardest, multinational relief efforts continued.
Dorian hit near the city of Halifax, Nova Scotia, on Saturday afternoon, ripping roofs off apartment buildings, toppling a huge construction crane and uprooting trees. There were no reported deaths in Canada, though the storm was blamed for at least 50 elsewhere along its path.
The U.S. National Hurricane Center said the post-tropical cyclone was centered about 65 miles west-southwest of St. Anthony, Newfoundland, by late Sunday. Its top sustained winds had slipped to 60 mph, below the 74 mph threshold of hurricane force. It was heading to the northeast, roughly up the St. Lawrence River, at 24 mph.
The track was taking the storm near or over Newfoundland and Labrador province and then out over the North Atlantic by Sunday evening.
Nova Scotian officials asked people in the province to stay off the roads so crews could safety remove trees and debris and restore power.
The government said as many as 700 Canadian troops would be fanning out in the eastern provinces to help restore electricity, clear roadways and evacuate residents in flooded areas.
Nova Scotia Power Inc. chief executive Karen Hutt said more than 400,000 customers lost power at the peak of the storm and that power had since been restored for 50,000. About 80% of Nova Scotia's homes and businesses had no electricity -- the highest in the company's history. Hutt said some customers could remain without service for days.
On Prince Edward Island, about 75% of homes and businesses had no electricity by Sunday afternoon, according to the province's Public Safety Department.
Widespread power failures affecting as many as 80,000 NB Power customers were reported in southern New Brunswick.
RESCUES IN BAHAMAS
By far the greatest damage caused by the storm was in the Bahamas, where Dorian struck about a week ago as a Category 5 hurricane with 185 mph winds, then hovered just offshore for more than a day and a half, destroying thousands of homes.
Planes, cruise ships and yachts were evacuating people from the Abaco Islands over the weekend, and officials were trying to reach areas still isolated by flooding and debris.
Ninety-three people were evacuated from Abaco and surrounding cays to the capital, Nassau, early Sunday morning, the Royal Bahamas Defense Force said in a statement. In total, about 3,000 people have been evacuated, the armed forces said.
Frustration is building, however.
Even as Prime Minister Hubert Minnis told stranded residents at an airport in Treasure Cay that the government would offer Abaco residents free flights to New Providence island, some people in the crowd shouted back.
"I can't handle this anymore!" one man yelled, according to the Nassau Guardian.
Meanwhile, governments in the region are mobilizing to provide manpower and resources to the Bahamas.
The U.S. Coast Guard said it had rescued 308 people in the Bahamas as of Sunday morning. Six MH-60 Jayhawk helicopters and nine cutters are helping in the aid effort, the Coast Guard said.
"There is no shortage of support from the United States," Bahamian Health Minister Duane Sands said. "Ultimately, it's as if all we have to do is ask."
The Bahamas' National Emergency Management Agency said it was sending in extra staff members because operations had been hampered by the storm's effect on local workers.
The agency said it was setting up shelters or temporary housing for the newly homeless across the islands, and it appealed for Bahamians to take in storm victims.
Sands also said the government is being proactive about preventing public health outbreaks such as cholera, noting that field hospitals, including floating ones, were being set up and that shelters were being built to help storm victims.
"We have an entire army of public health officers on the ground in Abaco and Grand Bahama. We are working with [World Health Organization], with the Pan American Health Organization, with the Dutch government, with the German government, etc. We are using international best standards for mitigation of natural disasters ... all of the infectious challenges that arise," he said.
Sands said the Pan American Health Organization's disaster coordinator is currently in the Bahamas and that they met last week. He said he's "been personally in touch with the director general of the World Health Organization" and has been assured of logistics support and response if needed.
Meanwhile, the United Nations said 8 tons of food supplies was on the way by ship. Some 14,700 ready-to-eat meals as well as logistical and telecommunications equipment are being delivered, said Herve Verhoosel, spokesman for the U.N. World Food Program.
"The needs remain enormous," Verhoosel said.
The World Food Program said in a tweet that it was sending more than 40 tons of supplies, including generators, communications equipment, storage units and prefab offices.
A Royal Caribbean Cruises ship, Navigator of the Seas, arrived in Freeport on Sunday morning with volunteers, relief supplies and 10,000 meals, according to a company news release.
DEATH TOLL RISES
Sands, the Bahamas' heath minister, said Sunday that the death toll had risen by one, to 44, after search teams late Saturday recovered a body in Abaco.
"We've also noted that there are a number of missing persons. We also acknowledged that there are people we know who are in the field and have not been retrieved," Sands said, adding that officials expect the "44 storm-related deaths in our morgues to rise significantly."
With people reporting on social media that they have personally counted scores of bodies, and others asking why the government isn't telling the truth about the number of individuals who died in the Abacos and on Grand Bahama Island, Sands said the narrative is "false" and unfortunate.
"I am actually a bit concerned that the focus has been for some people the body count," Sands said in an interview. "It is not the priority. The priority is find those people for their loved ones who are missing them; to take care, provide comfort to those people who are hurt, who are suffering, that's the priority. To put food in people's bellies, water in their throat."
Sands said the government is trying to keep a database of missing individuals but that the damage to cell towers has made communications difficult. He noted that his wife's father was missing and was not found until two days ago. It took time to learn of his fate because of the communications issues.
"There are many people missing who may have perished or been injured. There are other people who are defined as missing because they have no way of letting their loved ones know where they are. And so as we go through this nightmare, all of these moving parts, much of it having to be done by persons who themselves have either lost loved ones or property."
Dorian was also blamed for five deaths in the U.S.' Southeast and one in Puerto Rico.
Information for this article was contributed by Rob Gillies and Michael Weissenstein of The Associated Press and by Jacqueline Charles and Nicholas Nehamas of The Miami Herald.
A man searches Sunday through the debris where homes stood before Dorian struck the area of Marsh Harbor in the Bahamas’ Abaco Islands.
A toppled building crane is draped over a construction project in Halifax, Nova Scotia, on Sunday after the storm swept through the area.
A Section on 09/09/2019
Print Headline: Dorian leaves eastern Canada in the dark