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Thursday, September 16, 1999 Published at 12:08 GMT 13:08 UK

World: Americas

Picking up after Floyd

A damaged marina in Eleuthera after 110mph winds hit on Wednesday

People in the Bahamas are assessing the damage caused by the 12-hour battering the islands received from Hurricane Floyd - one of the most powerful storms to have been recorded over the Atlantic.

An entire village was swept away, as well as boats and part of one island's cemetery. One man is reported to have been killed.

Communications were restored in the capital Nassau, on New Providence Island, on Wednesday, but many outlying islands are still cut off.

[ image: On  Abaco Islands houses were destroyed by the storm surge]
On Abaco Islands houses were destroyed by the storm surge
Prime Minister Hubert Ingraham, accompanied by US Ambassador Arthur Schechter, flew to outlying areas to inspect storm damage.

The eye of the storm skirted New Providence, where about two-thirds of the Bahamas' 287,000 people live, but winds still reached nearly 100mph (160km/h) and a 10-foot (three metre) storm surge hit coastal roads.

Debris is lying in the streets of the capital after trees were uprooted, power lines were torn down and roofs blown off.

"It was very frightening. The place looks like a giant vacuum cleaner came and picked up trees and tossed them in the streets," a Nassau resident told reporters.

One woman watched with her two-year-old son as neighbours tried to remove a tree that had smashed her tin-roofed home in half.

"I am just worried about getting the tree out of my living room," she said.

Low-lying islands

Of the 700 islands in the Bahamas, the worst damage may have occurred in the northern Family Islands, which lay directly in the path of Floyd.

These patches of low-lying coral rock would have experienced winds exceeding 150mph (240km/h)

[ image: Many US citizens holiday in the northern Bahamas' islands]
Many US citizens holiday in the northern Bahamas' islands
On Wednesday night, government officials were still trying to arrange flights to Eleuthera, Abaco and other hard-hit islands, officials said.

Overflights of Abaco 60 miles (100 kilometers) north of Nassau showed entire neighbourhoods flooded by storm surges.

An official said the whole settlement of Crossing Rock in Abaco was swept away. The villagers had all been evacuated earlier and no one was reported missing.

The Bahamas Air Sea Rescue Association said there were reports of one presumed death in northern Grand Bahama, which also took a direct hit.

A friend of the man said his van had got stuck in a storm surge and he tried to swim to high ground but was swept away.

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