Government was yesterday mobilising resources to send relief supplies and manpower to Dominica after Category 5 Hurricane Maria devastated the country between Monday night and early Tuesday morning.
In fact, the death toll in Dominica, as of now, is six - with one death from Morne Propper and five in Dos Dane Village near Portsmouth.
In a post on his official Facebook page, Dominica’s Prime Minister Roosevelt Skerrit said that everything that money could buy, was destroyed in Dominica by the monster storm.
Initial reports based on communication via ham radio, estimated that between 75 to 85 percent of all structures in Dominica were completely demolished while others had extensive damage including roofs being torn off. Later reports claimed damage to at least 90 percent of building stock on the island.
Reports out of Guadeloupe, which Maria also lashed, had one person confirmed dead and two missing. Assistance is being coordinated by the Office of the Prime Minister, Ministry of National Security and the Ministry of Foreign and Caricom Affairs.
An Office of the Prime Minister release said that a Coast Guard vessel was due to depart for Dominica around midnight on Tuesday night and a National Helicopters Services Limited helicopter is due to leave at daybreak on Wednesday. Among those included to travel were six personnel each to form part of the initial damage assessment and search and rescue teams of the Caribbean Disaster Emergency Management Agency (CDEMA), and one to assist in manning Dominica’s National Emergency Operations Centre (NEOC), Office of Disaster Preparedness (ODPM) Deputy Chief Executive Officer Colonel Dave Williams told Newsday.
A coordinating meeting was held yesterday with stakeholders including Caribbean Airlines and the Immigration Department. Government has also been liaising with the Caricom Secretariat and other Caricom members throughout the day to obtain information and work out logistics to provide support and assistance to Dominica.
The National Security ministry reiterated that TT remains willing to assist its CARICOM neighbours affected by severe weather systems and will respond accordingly in consideration of the present economic realities, “while ensuring that our ability to respond to any eventuality at home remains a priority.”
The last official communication out of Dominica from Prime Minister Skerrit was issued at 1.13 am yesterday via the Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States. In the statement, Roosevelt said, “Initial reports are of widespread devastation. So far we have lost all what money can buy and replace. My greatest fear for the morning is that we will wake to news of serious physical injury and possible deaths as a result of likely landslides triggered by persistent rains.”
The winds, he said, “have swept away the roof of almost every person I have spoken to or otherwise made contact with. The roof to my own official residence was among the first to go and this apparently triggered an avalanche of torn away roofs in the city and the countryside.”
As soon as the all clear was given, he said, he was going in search of the injured and those trapped in the rubble.
Former MP Dominican-born Herbert Volney told Newsday that he had been out of touch with his two older brothers living in Dominica and was concerned about their welfare. He was speaking with one of them when the storm touched down at about 9.15 pm on Monday and he described the house as trembling.