In the early morning hours of Tuesday the 18th of September 2017, the mega hurricane Maria consumed the island nation of the Commonwealth of Dominica. Situated in the Caribbean, Dominicans are well acclimatized to stormy weather during the hurricane season months, however this time it was terrifyingly different. Within hours, the storm metamorphisized from a Category 1 to a Category 5 hurricane, with wind speeds of 175 miles per hour, while just eye of the storm covered most of the total land surface area of the island.
Dominica’s volcanic origins have always made it uniquely special among other Caribbean Islands and with numerous mountainous peaks, 365 rivers, 1 World Heritage national site and rainforests teeming with biodiversity, it is often called the ‘Nature Isle of the Caribbean’. Furthermore, Dominica is one of the few islands in which the indigenous population i.e. Kalinago still live and it is also home to a proud history, harmonious religious plurality, and rich cultural arts. Or rather, it was.
As Prime Minister Skerritt stated in his appeal, Dominica ‘is going to need all the help the world can offer’.
As of yesterday, there was no electricity on the Island and running water is available to less than 15% of the population. Most families are hungry and thirsty and despite efforts by government officials to improve the situation, many are losing hope. There is an indescribable need for disaster relief organizations on the ground in Dominica.