Rescue Workers Rush to Ruined Dominica
The situation on Dominica has become more evident as the outside world has begun trying to find out what happened to them. The damage there is being revealed to be about as bad as it was in St. Thomas and St. John. The island is totally devastated:
Relief agencies reached the hard-hit Caribbean nation of Dominica by air and sea on Wednesday after a direct hit by Hurricane Maria caused massive damage to homes and buildings, washed out roads, upended water pipelines and left at least seven people dead.
Officials estimated that 70 to 80 percent of Dominica’s structures sustained storm damage, ranging from ripped-off roofs to near-total destruction. All intact public buildings were being converted into emergency shelters for scores of homeless residents. Americans, Canadians and others were waiting to be evacuated from the devastated island, officials said.
Aerial footage showed debris fields strewn across the island in the wake of Maria, which struck late Monday as a Category 5 hurricane with sustained winds above 160 mph.
“Tremendous loss of housing and public buildings. The main general hospital took a beating. Patient care has been compromised,” Hartley Henry, an adviser to Prime Minister Roosevelt Skerrit, wrote in a dramatic statement calling for international relief.
He said that “little contact has been made with the outer communities but people who walked 10 and 15 miles toward the [capital] city of Roseau from various outer districts report total destruction of homes, some roadways and crops.”
Still, the destruction on Dominica, Jackson said, did not appear to be as widespread as the recent havoc that Hurricane Irma wreaked on Barbuda, which was left uninhabitable. He compared Dominica’s damage to Irma’s hit on the British Virgin Islands, but said that Dominica’s terrain and washed-out roads were complicating the rescue effort.
As of this posting, Maria was downgraded to Cat 2 after spending most of Wednesday trashing Puerto Rico. This is one bit of good news, as it will spare the Dominican Republic a direct hit and will likely also spare the Turks & Caicos, which was severely damaged by Irma.