Hurricane Dorian came to a catastrophic day-long halt over the north-west Bahamas, flooding the islands of Abaco and Grand Bahama with walls of water.
At least five people died and 21 injured people were airlifted to the capital by the US Coast Guard, Bahamas officials said.
“We are in the midst of an historic tragedy,” prime minister Hubert Minnis said. “The devastation is unprecedented and extensive.”
Winds and rain continued to pound the north-west islands late on Monday night into early Tuesday, sending people fleeing the floodwaters from one shelter to another.