An estimated 2,500 people are feared missing in the Bahamas after the deadly Hurricane Dorian devastated the islands, officials have said.

The figure suggests the death toll will be much higher than the current 50 confirmed after the Category 5 storm struck.

Dorian equalled the highest winds ever recorded for a hurricane at landfall when it struck the Abaco Islands.

The Bahamian government cautioned that missing list had yet been checked against the rosters of those evacuated or staying in shelter.

Hurricane Dorian: A police officer searches for the dead after the storm struck the Abaco Islands in Bahamas (REUTERS)

Carl Smith, a spokesman for the country’s National Emergency Management Agency, said he expected the list to shrink.

More than a week after Dorian smashed thousands of homes on the country’s Grand Bahama and Abaco islands, search-and-rescue crews were still making their way through the ruins.

Hundreds of people were being housed in temporary shelters in the capital, Nassau.

Hurricane Dorian devastation in the Bahamas

And emergency workers have been planning to build two tent cities around Marsh Harbour on Great Abaco Island.

An array of organisations, countries and companies, including the United Nations, the US government, the British Royal Navy, American Airlines and Royal Caribbean, have mobilised efforts to send in food, water, generators, roof tarps, diapers, flashlights and other supplies to the affected areas.

The White House on Wednesday said it does not plan to invoke temporary protected immigration status for Bahamians currently in the US.

“The Bahamians impacted by Hurricane Dorian are facing a humanitarian crisis, and the American government, international partners and private organisations continue to support them with aid and services. At this time we do not plan to invoke Temporary Protected Status for those currently in the United States,” the official said.

State and federal lawmakers in Florida asked President Donald Trump to grant Bahamians Temporary Protected Status (TPS), which lets foreign nationals whose home countries have been hurt by a war or natural disaster live and work in the US.

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