The Bahamas Is Still Coping With Destruction Caused by Hurricane Dorian
Hurricane Dorian affected more than 70,000 people in the region.
Parts of the Bahamas that were hit by Hurricane Dorian last fall have still not fully recovered.
In the Abaco Islands, some areas "appear untouched" by recovery efforts since the storm hit, CNN reported. Homes on the island are still being rebuilt, and many people displaced from their homes have been unable to return. Utilities, meanwhile, are not expected to be fully restored until the summer.
In Grand Bahama, the water supply has become too salty to drink, affecting over half of the island’s households. Infrastructure has been damaged, slowing the island’s economic recovery, and unemployment remains high.
Over 70,000 people were affected by the hurricane, and the island nation sustained an estimated $7 billion in damages, according to a report from the World Food Programme last September.
As of last December, the official death toll stood at 70 people, but it is possible that more than 600 people drowned and were washed out to sea, according to NBC News.
"Hurricane Dorian crystallizes the existential threat posed to small island developing states by the ongoing climate emergency," Mami Mizutori, the United Nations' secretary-general’s special representative for disaster risk reduction, said in a statement last September.
With winds as high as 185 miles per hour at landfall, Hurricane Dorian was one of the strongest hurricane landfalls ever recorded. As greenhouse gas emissions continue to heat the planet, hurricanes are becoming more intense.
"This is the fourth consecutive year that we have witnessed an extremely devastating Atlantic hurricane season including category five hurricanes like Dorian," Mizutori said. "The sequence cannot be divorced from the fact that these last five years have been the hottest ever recorded because of the continuing rise in greenhouse gases in the atmosphere."
Climate change causes hurricanes to have higher storm surges and produce more rainfall because of higher sea levels. Warming oceans also provide more heat energy to power hurricanes, according to CNN.
Every year, 26 million people sink into poverty due to natural disasters like hurricanes, according to the World Bank. The Brookings Institute has also reported that hurricanes hit those living in poverty the hardest.