Bahamas Health Minister Duane Sands has warned of the possible outbreak of diseases as a result of the unsanitary conditions in the devastated areas following the passage of Hurricane Dorian.

He said that after a hurricane, the initial challenge to public health “is traumatic” and that health officials, since the passage of Hurricane Dorian, have had to deal with fractured bones, lacerations, as well as amputations and head injuries. He added that the staff at the Princess Margaret Hospital have been stretched in dealing with the situation.

However International Federation of Red Cross Mathew Cochrane says that while traumatic the presence of dead bodies don’t in and of themselves pose a health risk.

Some of the most affected areas were shanty towns, many of them populated by Haitian workers. One neighbourhood known as the Mudd was almost totally wiped out by the hurricane, and bodies were still waiting to be collected.

There were also fears that diarrhoea and waterborne diseases could spread as drinking water might be contaminated, the Pan American Health Organization said, but no cases of cholera had been reported.

About 3,500 people have been evacuated to Nassau by passenger planes, cruise liners and government boats and ships. While some were scrambling for shelter others worried that it would take a long time for them to rebuild their lives.