NASSAU, The Bahamas (CMC) — The death toll following the passage of Hurricane Dorian at the start of the month rose to 53, with the authorities also confirming that more than 40 autopsies had been completed by Friday.

Police Commissioner Anthony Ferguson said on Friday that police had recovered another body from the hurricane-affected area of Abaco, and that the death toll now stands at 53.

Abaco and Grand Bahamas were the two islands most affected when Hurricane Dorian, a category 5 storm, lashed the archipelago on September 1 with winds in excess of 180 miles per hour. Apart from the deaths, authorities said damage could total billions of dollars.

Regional and international organisations have been involved in the rescue, search and redevelopment of the country, and Health Minister Dr Duane Sands said 42 autopsies had been completed.

Sands said 39 autopsies have been done in Abaco and three were completed in New Providence.

Sands said while the Government’s intention is to treat each victim with dignity and there were no plans to conduct mass burials, he is 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.

Meanwhile, Attorney General Carl Bethel has said that a draft of the Disaster Preparedness and Response (Amendment) Bill, 2019, is being amended to create additional powers for the Government.