The director-general of the World Health Organization is calling on the world to rally around the Bahamas in the aftermath of Hurricane Dorian, "which has not only cost many lives and livelihoods but caused severe damage to essential infrastructure."
Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus of the WHO issued the statement after visiting the Bahamas to address the impact of the powerful storm.
"It breaks my heart to see the devastation to communities and families who have lost friends and loved ones as well as their homes, possessions and access to crucial services," Tedros said.
Early this month, Hurricane Dorian made landfall on the Abaco Islands and then moved on to Grand Bahama Island. The Category 5 hurricane stalled in the Bahamas for more than two days.
A press release by the WHO said 1,500 people are still being housed in shelters, about 600 are still missing and 56 are confirmed dead.
"The health sector in Abaco and Grand Bahama suffered a substantial blow, with equipment and medical supplies destroyed and electrical and water supplies interrupted. In Grand Bahama three health clinics have been destroyed and two in Abaco," the statement said.
The U.N. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change released a report earlier this month projecting climate change would have "sweeping and severe" consequences. The report highlighted natural disasters that are projected to worsen due to climate change.
"Hurricane Dorian is another urgent reminder that we must address the drivers of climate change and invest more in resilient communities," Tedras said. "The longer we wait, the more people will suffer. We need to keep the world and people safe."
WHO called on countries to commit to cutting carbon emissions and significantly scaling up investment in climate change, during the Climate Action Summit in New York.
The World Health Organization has allocated $1 million for natural disaster relief from its Contingency Fund for Emergencies.