The Bahamas government has denied reports circulating on social media that scores of decaying bodies are being stored in a refrigerated trailer swarming with flies on Abaco, one of the islands devastated by Hurricane Dorian when it ploughed through the archipelago on September 1 last year.
In a statement, the Ministry of Health described the video in which an Abaco local government official is claiming that the decaying bodies were being kept in a trailer that was not properly secured as “pathetic falsifications”.
“The people of Abaco have suffered tremendously. These insensitive and reckless false claims add to their pain and suffering.”— Ministry of Health
In the video, the official says: “You can see the flies…I don’t know if you can see it on the video, but I don’t want to get too, too close because [there is the smell of death].”
While the official figures have put the death toll at 70, the authorities have also acknowledged that as many as 200 people are unaccounted for as a result of the hurricane that also caused damage estimated at US$3.4 billion.
In its statement, the Ministry of Health said the claims were “baseless and inaccurate assertions,” adding the “claim of a stench, fresh or old remnants of bodily fluids at or around the trailer and suggestion that there are unusually large populations of flies attracted to the trailer are pathetic falsifications refuted by direct inspection of our clinic administrator Kyron Darville and ACHS Charlene Bain on January 17, 2020”.
It said that the locked cooler “is currently at minus eight to minus 10 degrees.
“We have carefully selected and maintained the cooler temperature to avoid any further degradation of bodies that were all collected in a state of decomposition. The integrity of the remains has been verified by our pathology team as late as Friday, January 17, 2020.”
The Ministry of Health said that following the hurricane, only four of the bodies on Abaco have been identified and that “upon completion of all efforts to ensure identification, all the victims will be buried with dignity.
“The people of Abaco have suffered tremendously. These insensitive and reckless false claims add to their pain and suffering. At least one of the persons should know better and seek confirmation before affirming misinformation.”