Published On: Wed, Sep 20th, 2017

CTO Release Sept. 20th, 2017: “Tremendous loss of housing and public buildings in Dominica”

Dear All,

This message from Hartley Henry, the principal advisor to Dominica’s prime minister:

This is Hartley Henry – Principal Advisor to Prime Minister Roosevelt Skerrit of Dominica.

It’s 4:30am and I just spoke with Prime Minister Skerrit via satellite phone. He and family are fine.  Dominica is not!! Tremendous loss of housing and public buildings. The main general hospital took a beating. Patient care has been compromised.

Many buildings serving as shelters lost roofs, which means that a very urgent need now is tarpaulins and other roofing materials.

Little contact has been made with the outer communities but persons who walked 10 and 15 miles towards the city of Roseau from various outer districts report total destruction of homes, some roadways and crops.

Urgent helicopter services are needed to take food, water and tarpaulins to outer districts for shelter.

Canefield airport can accommodate helicopter landings and it is expected that from today, the waters around the main Roseau port will be calm enough to accommodate vessels bringing relief supplies and other forms of assistance.

It’s difficult to determine the level of fatalities but so far seven are confirmed, as a direct result of the hurricane. That figure, the Prime Minister fears, will rise as he wades his way into the rural communities today, Wednesday.

The urgent needs now are roofing materials for shelters, bedding supplies for hundreds stranded in or outside what’s left of their homes and food and water drops for residents of outlying districts inaccessible at the moment.

The tarmac at Mellville Hall [Airport] was not too badly damaged so the strip should be opened in a day or two for larger relief planes to land.

The Prime Minister is hoping to make contact with ABS Radio in Antigua this morning to speak directly to the outer world as to the state of Dominica and its urgent needs.

The country is in a daze – no electricity, no running water – as a result of uprooted pipes in most communities and definitely no landline or cellphone services on island, and that will be for quite a while.

In summary,  the island has been devastated. The housing stock significantly damaged or destroyed. All available public buildings are being used as shelters; with very limited roofing materials evident.

The country needs the support and continued help and prayers of all.

Will update further as new information is received.

Hurricane Maria heading towards DominicaAccording to Wunderground.com…

Category 5 Hurricane Maria made a direct hit on the small Lesser Antilles island of Dominica (population 72,000) near 9 pm EDT Monday, becoming Dominica’s first Category 5 landfall on record. At the time of landfall, an Air Force hurricane hunter aircraft measured surface winds of 160 mph and a central pressure of 924 mb. Maria likely did catastrophic damage to Dominica.

Heavy rain squalls and rising winds were being observed late Monday afternoon at Melville Hall Airport on Dominica, which measured sustained winds at 31 mph, gusting to 48 mph, at 6 pm EDT Monday. That station then went off-line, as did Canefield Airport, an hour later. A personal weather station on the northwest end of the island stopped transmitting as of 9:50 pm EDT Monday, after measuring a pressure of 986 mb. Satellite loops and radar out of Martinique and Barbados clearly show Maria’s small, 9-mile diameter eye, surrounded by a daunting array of spiral bands with heavy thunderstorms, Maria’s hurricane-force winds were confined to a relatively narrow 40-mile diameter region around the hurricane’s small eye, but the tropical storm-force wind area was 230 miles in diameter.

For more details read online at Wunderground.com.