Widespread speculation in Grand Bahama since Hurricane Dorian’s deadly impact has been that hundreds of residents are missing, particularly in East Grand Bahama, since the storm’s landfall in the early days of September.
However, on Monday (October 7) senior law enforcement agents revealed officially, to date, only some 30-plus people remain unaccounted for locally.
As a result, a joint search and recovery effort between members of the Royal Bahamas Police Force (RBPF) Grand Bahama District and international agencies continue.
Superintendent of Police (Supt.)
Brian Livingston Rolle, Officer-in-Charge of the Central Detective Unit (CDU), who is heading the exercise, confirmed that the team is continuing its search and recovery efforts in the eastern area of the island in the wake of Hurricane Dorian.
He added that searches are concentrated in the eastern area of the island beyond the Casuarina Bridge and as far as McLean’s Town.
“To date, there are about 30 persons missing and they have recovered nine who have been confirmed dead.
“We continue to encourage everyone who may have a missing relative due to Hurricane Dorian to make an official report to the police,” Supt. Rolle said.
He also advised persons who may know of any missing person’s whereabouts to report it to the police, immediately.
Supt. Rolle reiterated that their efforts will continue.
“My team and I are appreciative of the assistance we’ve received during this recovery period. We’re grateful to the Grand Bahamian community for their assistance in coming forward with the names of those missing and in some cases, possible locations to be searched,” he said.
Supt. Rolle also expressed appreciation to law enforcement agents from the United States and other international volunteers for their assistance, as well as regional officers, the cadaver dogs and their handlers whose presence allowed them to dedicate more time and effort to the mission.
In a previous interview immediately following the storm, Supt. Rolle said that for the RBPF to declare a person as missing, an official report must be filed with the police.
He further advised persons to be careful of the information being spread on social media platforms during this time, because such information is often inaccurate and can be misleading.
He recommended that members of the public receive information from official credible sources.
Commissioner of Police Anthony Ferguson, in a press statement last month said, the official number of deceased persons recovered in Grand Bahama was nine and 47 for Abaco.
The Royal Bahamas Police Force, through the Commissioner of Police, is the only entity that has the authority to release an official count of recovered bodies. Whenever a body is found in Grand Bahama and Abaco the police are called in and accompany the retrieval team at all stages. As a part of the ongoing procedure, the RBPF has begun the process of identification of recovered bodies from Grand Bahama and Abaco.