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Sep 22, 2017

Help on the Way as P.M. Recounts Maria Terror in Dominica

The Caribbean Catastrophe Risk Insurance Facility has announced that Dominica will receive a payout of over nineteen million U.S. dollars following the passage of Hurricane Maria as it begins the process of recovery.  Prime Minister Dean Barrow said on Thursday that Belize will be offering some sort of assistance to Dominica. The island has been cut off from the rest of the world and remains without electricity. Residents have lost their properties and water and food supplies are priorities. In an emotional television interview, Prime Minister Roosevelt Skerrit speaks of the ravages of the category five hurricane to his country which desperately needs help. News Five’s Duane Moody reports.

 

Duane Moody, Reporting

For the first time in three hundred years, the population of the Leeward Island of Barbuda is zero. This is in the aftermath of the mass devastation by category-five Hurricane Irma on the night of September fifth. Two weeks later, Hurricane Maria, also a category-five storm, would follow almost the same path, this time making landfall on Dominica on September eighteenth. The death toll is at fifteen, but that can climb and many more are missing in Dominica after the monstrous hurricane. Prime Minister Roosevelt Skerrit appeared on an Antiguan-based media house where he was moved to tears about the devastation on the Caribbean Island.

 

Roosevelt Skerrit

Roosevelt Skerrit, Prime Minister of Dominica

“So far we would have buried in excess of fifteen people. In one village, there are thirteen people missing, another village five people missing and other people two. And we can say they are [dead] because their homes are no longer standing; they’ve been washed by the rivers. We have not been to many villages and just going by ear, looking at the situation. We are in need of tarpaulins and other supplies. Water for the people, food supplies, tarpaulins, some blankets…greatly needed.”

 

The community of Melville Hall, Dominica was severely affected by the storm. Many persons were evacuated and lost everything they owned. Several residents spoke of the experience. It’s been four days and several persons still cannot access their homes.

 

Matthew Joseph

Matthew Joseph, Hurricane Victim

“Yes there was a house that used to be here and it is no longer; it is gone. As you can look around, everything flattened.”

 

Reporter

“At the time of the storm, just take me through what you and your family went through during the storm.”

 

Matthew Joseph

“At the time, we were not here; we were high up in the village. We went by my nephew to shelter. But it was sort of a wonderful experience in the sense that we had to leave from upstairs to downstairs. We could not venture down the stairs; we had to kick a window out and then pass the babies everybody through the window to make it downstairs. It was an experience for us. The whole upstairs was actually shaking; the roof was going and everybody screaming.”

 

Marfius Ambel

Marfius Ambel, Hurricane Victim

“It was terrible. I saw hurricane David but this one nowhere close to hurricane David at all, at all, at all. But I have life. Wind…terrible wind. Terrible, terrible wind for sure and it just ripped apart my home. Once I was inside there, I just felt a breeze and when I watch my kitchen door, gone. After I see the roof start to [shake]. It’s a good thing my neighbor had a concrete [house] and he rescued me and my mother.”

 

….even Prime Minister Skerrit shared his experience.

 

Roosevelt Skerrit

“People were just exposed to the elements of the hurricane—nowhere to run, nowhere to hide; people were hiding in the cupboards, cramping themselves in the kitchen cupboards to survive. In my case for example, I had to put a mattress over my head to prevent the falling roods from coming onto us. So there are a number of people who have been really traumatized by this.”

 

Duane Moody for News Five.

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