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Missing List Falls To 1,300

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Commissioner of Police Anthony Ferguson.

By AVA TURNQUEST

Tribune Chief Reporter

aturnquest@tribunemedia.net

POLICE Commissioner Anthony Ferguson yesterday suggested the total number of lives lost due to Hurricane Dorian may never be fully recorded as he defended the pace of the official count.

The number of confirmed deaths has stalled at 50 over the past two days, and at a NEMA briefing yesterday, Commissioner Ferguson said officials have not progressed much further.

Meanwhile, the number of missing persons has dropped significantly to 1,300 - down from the 2,500 reported on Wednesday.

“We are going thoroughly step-by-step and we do not want to make people believe that this job will be one that will happen overnight,” Mr Ferguson.

“We have to go though all of that rubble, take our time and search. We have never said that it’s going to be quick and I say again, this process is going to be very slow because we want to make sure that whatever is there we want to recover it, the land mass is vast.”

Former Prime Minister Hubert Ingraham has said he believes that the hurricane death toll is in the “hundreds”.

For his part, the police chief stressed recovery did not stop at simply finding bodies.

“This process is slow,” Commissioner Ferguson said. “We haven’t made much progress from the 50 we gave you. We will continue to do our very best. I know that there are persons making comparisons but the police is not going to be involved in that. Everybody is free to make whatever comparison they wish to make, we are not going to query anybody’s opinion.

“But I will tell you at the end of the day, we will give you what we recover, the facts,” he continued, “even at that point we recover persons we are not saying that’s the end of it.

“Every single person in here knows in major disasters such as the magnitude of what we went through in the Abacos and Grand Bahama, it’s going to take a long time before you can really say numbers, and you may never get the amount of numbers but we have to do all within our power to do our best and try to bring resolve to this issue.”

At the NEMA briefing yesterday, the police chief also revealed two people have been arrested for firearm possession in Marsh Harbour this week.

He underscored police presence was not just focused on recovering bodies, but also ensuring the security and safety of the people in affected zones, adding Abaco was “fully covered”.

Meanwhile, the number of missing persons has dropped significantly to 1,300 - down from the 2,500 reported on Wednesday.

National Emergency Management Agency spokesperson Carl Smith said the number of missing persons on the government’s register is decreasing daily as officials have begun cross-referencing various databases of people who have been evacuated from the islands.

Mr Smith said the Department of Social Services is working closely with the police to identify people who have been found. He encouraged people to contact the help desk at Department of Rehabilitative Services to report if they have found relatives previously reported as missing.

Comments

Well_mudda_take_sic 1 month, 4 weeks ago

Police Commission Ferguson said: “We have to go though all of that rubble, take our time and search. We have never said that it’s going to be quick and I say again, this process is going to be very slow because we want to make sure that whatever is there we want to recover it, the land mass is vast.”

Nothing new here. The Minnis-led FNM government has been in slow-mo mode since September 1st and this has no doubt resulted in additional lives being lost in the aftermath of Dorian. Time is always of the essence when it comes to boots on the ground searching through rubble in an effort to rescue seriously injured survivors who may be pinned beneath debris. If rescuers didn't get to them quickly, they likely perished in the summer heat in the days immediately following the passage of Dorian.

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