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Hurricane Dorian death toll in the Bahamas rises to 20

The devastation left behind in the Bahamas by Hurricane Dorian has started to come into focus.

The official death toll for Hurricane Dorian in the Bahamas has jumped from seven to 20, according to officials. 

Bahamas Health Minister Dr. Duane Sands confirmed the newest estimate to the Miami Herald on Wednesday afternoon.

The passing of the storm revealed a muddy, debris-strewn landscape of smashed and flooded-out homes on Abaco and Grand Bahama islands.

Prime Minister Hubert Minnis said Tuesday night he had flown over the Abaco Islands and expected to do the same in Grand Bahama as soon as the weather clears.

In Abaco, he saw groups of people waving yellow sheets and shirts. He said 60 percent of homes were damaged in Marsh Harbor and that at least one community was completely destroyed.

"We are in the midst of a historic tragedy," Minnis said on Monday.

The storm unleashed massive flooding across the Bahamas on Monday, pummeling the islands with so much wind and water that authorities urged people to find flotation devices and grab hammers to break out of their attics if necessary.

RELATED: Hurricane chaser shares remarkable story of riding out Dorian in Bahamas

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The fearsome Category 4 storm slowed almost to a standstill as it shredded roofs, hurled cars and forced even rescue crews to take shelter until the onslaught passed. 

Credit: AP
Cars sit submerged in water from Hurricane Dorian in Freeport, Bahamas, Tuesday, Sept. 3, 2019. Dorian is beginning to inch northwestward after being stationary over the Bahamas, where its relentless winds have caused catastrophic damage and flooding.(AP Photo/Ramon Espinosa)

Officials said they received a "tremendous" number of calls from people in flooded homes. A radio station received more than 2,000 distress messages, including reports of a 5-month-old baby stranded on a roof and a grandmother with six grandchildren who cut a hole in a roof to escape rising floodwaters. Other reports involved a group of eight children and five adults stranded on a highway and two storm shelters that flooded.

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