Foreign Affairs Minister, Kamina Johnson-Smith, says Jamaica will be leading the Northern Caribbean disaster relief efforts in response to Hurricane Dorian’s devastation of sections of The Bahamas.

Dorian began drifting away from the Bahamas today after remaining stationary over the north west islands for the last 2 days.

But, reports are that up to this afternoon sections of the country were still experiencing strong winds and heavy rains associated with the system.

Neika Lewis reports

Minister Johnson-Smith says Prime Minister Andrew Holness has been in discussion with his Bahamian counterpart, Dr. Hubert Minnis, about how the region may help the Bahamas

The Foreign Affairs Minister says the Government of Jamaica is awaiting clearance to dispatch a team to help the people of the Bahamas.

Minister Johnson Smith says information emerging from the Bahamas is that during a brief lull in the Hurricane yesterday, preliminary rescue efforts were carried out.

But, the Foreign Affairs Minister says a significant portion of the Bahamian island, Abaco, remains submerged.

It’s estimated that more than 13-thousand houses have been either badly damaged or destroyed by Hurricane Dorian.

Another section of the Bahamas, Grand Bahama, has also been badly hit.

At least 5 people have been confirmed dead.

But it’s feared that when a more detailed assessment is carried out, that figure may increase.

Minister Johnson-Smith says despite significant communication problems, the government has been trying to get information on the well-being of thousands of Jamaicans in the Bahamas.

Minister Johnson Smith says people attempting to contact loved ones in the Bahamas may face challenges but not particularly because they’re unsafe.

Kamina Johnson Smith, Foreign Affairs Minister, speaking this afternoon with Nationwide News.