Washington: A new storm carrying heavy rain and strong winds is threatening the Bahamas just two weeks after Hurricane Dorian tore through part of the islands.
Tropical Depression Nine strengthened into Tropical Storm Humberto on Friday night. According to the National Hurricane Centre, it is currently moving northwest towards Great Abaco island, one of the islands worst hit by Dorian.
Hurricane Dorian hit the Bahamas on September 1 as a Category-5 storm — one of the strongest Atlantic hurricanes on record to hit land — packing top sustained winds of 298 km/h. It killed 50 people and as clean-up operation continues, the death toll is expected to rise.
About 1,300 people are missing in the Bahamas following the hurricane, while at least 15,000 are in need of shelter, food and medical care.
Humberto is due to cause strong winds and heavy rains on the islands, with some areas potentially seeing 15 cm (six inches) of rain and wind speeds of 45 km/h, the US media reported.
Officials warned that flooding from the fresh storm could hamper their rescue and relief efforts.
Carl Smith, from the National Emergency Management Agency (Nema), told reporters the storm could hinder the ongoing search for missing people, as well as efforts to get essential supplies to Grand Bahama and Great Abaco – the worst hit islands.
“I hope it does not disrupt it. We have taken precautionary measures to address the potential impact that we may encounter,” he said.
On Thursday, the US announced $4 million in new humanitarian assistance for the Bahamas. The US Agency for International Development said the money would go towards providing shelter, food, medicine and water to those on the two worst hit islands.
More than 5,000 people have been evacuated from those islands to New Providence, where the country’s capital Nassau is located.
Meanwhile, UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres visited the hurricane-stricken Bahamas islands on Friday and said that natural disasters like these are becoming more intense and frequent due to the global climate crisis.
He urged world leaders to take action to mitigate its effects as much as possible
Storms like Dorian were a “triple punch of injustice”, Gutierres said during a press conference after meeting with the nation’s Prime Minister Hubert Minnis at the Bahamian capital, Nassau.
“First, the worst impact is on countries with the lowest greenhouse emissions – The Bahamas are a very good example of that,” Guterres told journalists.
“Second, it is the poorest and most vulnerable people in those countries who suffer most, and again, the same has happened with the communities in The Bahamas.”
“And third, repeated storms trap countries in a cycle of disaster and debt,” he added.