HEALTH Minister Dr Duane Sands.
FRIDAY UPDATE: New information on autopsies was released on Friday, which indicated that two children (one girl and one boy) were among the dead in Abaco.
By KHRISNA RUSSELL
Deputy Chief Reporter
FIFTY autopsies have been completed on Hurricane Dorian victims, but none of these were children (see updated above) confirmed Health Minister Dr Duane Sands yesterday.
According to Dr Sands, officials performed eight post-mortem examinations on Grand Bahama storm victims, with the remainder from Abaco.
He said there was also one indirect death of a kidney patient who did not receive access to care. The Tribune reported on Monday that mother-of-two Annora Kemp died in a Grand Bahama hospital on September 4 after she was unable to get dialysis on time due to Hurricane Dorian.
Meanwhile, Police Commissioner Anthony Ferguson said the official Dorian death toll has increased to 52 after police recovered one deceased person from Abaco.
Since Monday, the death toll was confirmed to be 51, increasing only by one after stalling for one week at 50 casualties.
The National Emergency Management Agency explained the sluggish death declarations in an update disseminated to the media.
“Coalitions of urban search and rescue are faced with unprecedented logistical challenged in trying to access hard-to-reach areas with widely dispersed numbers of transient and undocumented population. NEMA can only offer facts reported by the Royal Bahamas Police Force. Updates will be ongoing,” the agency said.
Earlier this week, Dr Sands said the government’s intention is to treat each victim with dignity, adding there were no plans to conduct mass burials.
He also said that due to the nature of the storm, some of the victims’ bodies may never be recovered.
However, he was unable to state how long officials would continue to store unidentified remains, pointing to some instances where bodies have been held in the Rand Morgue at Princess Margaret Hospital for years.
Ultimately, he said the decision about whether bodies will be removed from cold storage and buried would be a collective one.