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13,000 houses destroyed as Hurricane Dorian pummels Bahamas

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FLORIDA: Bahamas Prime Minister Hubert Minnis said yesterday that the "devastation is unprecedented", after Hurricane Dorian pummelled the archipelago.

"Based on reports out of Abaco, the devastation is unprecedented," Minnis tweeted.

"Dorian remains an extremely dangerous storm. Our focus right now is rescue, recovery and prayer."

The Red Cross said the hurricane had caused extensive damage across the Bahamas, warning that as many as 13,000 houses may have been severely damaged or destroyed.

"We don't yet have a complete picture of what has happened," Mr Sune Bulow, head of the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies' emergency operation centre in Geneva, said in a statement.

"But it is clear that Hurricane Dorian has had a catastrophic impact," he said, adding that "we anticipate extensive shelter needs, alongside the need for short-term economic support, as well as for clean water and health assistance."

Dorian battered the Bahamas with ferocious wind and rain on Sunday, the monstrous Category 5 storm wrecking towns and homes.There were no immediate estimates of casualties, but The Bahamas Press reported on Twitter that a 7-year-old boy had drowned in northern Bahamas.

Packing sustained winds of 295kmh, Dorian crashed onshore in the Abacos Islands, in the north-west of the Bahamas, as the strongest storm ever to hit the Caribbean chain.

After days of uncertainty surrounding the storm's path, the south-eastern US states of Florida, Georgia and South Carolina finally ordered coastal residents to evacuate in a mass exodus set to affect hundreds of thousands of people.

"This storm at this magnitude could really cause massive destruction. Do not put your life in jeopardy by staying behind when you have a chance to get out," Florida Governor Ron DeSantis said. - AFP, REUTERS

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