(BBC) – Rescuers have begun to reach areas of the northern Bahamas devastated by Hurricane Dorian, with aerial images showing a trail of destruction.
PM Hubert Minnis said some areas had been “decimated” and expected the current death toll of seven would rise.
The hurricane winds that hit the Abaco Islands equalled the highest ever recorded at landfall, and Grand Bahama also suffered severe damage and floods.
Dorian has moved off north but still threatens the eastern US seaboard.
Forecasters have warned it could make landfall on the coast of South or North Carolina on Thursday.
Although the hurricane has weakened to a category two storm with maximum sustained winds of 105mph (165km/h), it has grown larger in area.
What is the damage to the Abacos and Grand Bahama?
Mr Minnis confirmed the death toll had risen from five to seven, but added: “We can expect more deaths to be recorded. This is just preliminary information.”
He said the Bahamas was facing “one of the greatest national crises in our country’s history”.