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The news cameras are now chasing the latest breaking story somewhere in the world. What's left are five to six island countries that bear the deep scars from the ravages of Hurricanes Irma and Maria. One island country was completely destroyed. Some of the others will need to rebuild their infrastructures, community support systems, and economies for years to come.
In that latter category desperately in need is Dominica who felt the brunt of Category 5 Hurricane Maria on September 18th. They weren't even back on their feet from Tropical Story Erika that hit the island in 2015. Now the need is greater than ever.
Today's show will help you assess what happened to Dominica and what 's being done to bring back its communities, housing stock, and the overall economy. Dominica is a different island nation from the Dominican Republic, but equally important when it comes to the cleanup efforts now underway. We'll talk to two leaders of the ex-pat community from Dominica to find out what happened and how you can help.
Today's Guests Are Pastor Cuthbert Joseph and his sister Helena Joseph who live in Boston, but are official representatives of their native Dominica. Pastor Joseph is the official Spokesperson and Consulate Appointee for Dominica's Relief Effort in Boston. Helena Joseph is the Marketing and Public Relations Committee Chair for the Relief Effort.
For more information, Visit www.bostonfordominica.org.
Dominica’s Recovery post Hurricane Maria
The Commonwealth of Dominica is the largest and most northerly of the Windward Islands in the Lesser Antilles. The island has an area of 790 square kilometres and has approximately 91 miles of coastline. Only 29 miles long and 16 miles wide, the island is situated on the inner volcanic arc of the Lesser Antilles and is the most mountainous of the Eastern Caribbean Islands.
The Commonwealth of Dominica is a middle income country with a population of 72,660 persons of mainly African descent (86.7% ) and the indigenous Kalinago people. (About 1000 Kalingo people live in Dominica. They are the last surviving indigenous people in the Caribbean.) There is an overwhelming concentration of the population along the entire coastline, particularly along the more hospitable West coast. Life expectancy at birth is estimated to be 77.5 years and a per capita GDP of US$ 8,066.
Dominica’s Economy has largely been agriculturally based, although over the past several years Tourism has risen in importance as a major income generator for the island. The Government of Dominica, through the Ministry of Health provides health services to the population through the one main tertiary hospital- the Princess Margaret Hospital located in the capital Roseau as well as through 52 health centers strategically located within the several villages around the island. Like every other nation, the escalating cost of health care and the ever-growing medical needs of the population have posed a serious challenge for the Ministry of Health in terms of financing and allocation of scarce resources.
The people of Dominica have experienced a catastrophic disaster no one imagined could unfold in our lifetime.
On September18, 2017 Hurricane Maria annihilated my homeland of Dominica. The category 5 hurricane showed absolutely no mercy to the island, causing widespread damage in every community, killing at least 70 people with several still missing, either washed away or buried under debris.
Indiscriminate in its destruction, the Category 5 storm with winds exceeding 160 miles per hour (mph) ripped off roofs and tore apart 95% all buildings including homes, hospitals and businesses. The destructive winds and heavy rains also caused severe flooding, wiped out roads and bridges, knocked down power lines and cut off water supplies and totally disabled the communications system.
The extent of the destruction is staggering – nearly every home was savagely hit, leaving countless families with young children homeless and in dire need of food and water and medical care.
The roof of the main hospital was torn away, the ICU was completely destroyed and patient care has been compromised. Even shelters were ripped off their foundations as their debris littered the island like confetti. Many communities are now unrecognizable.
Of major concern is the extensive damage to the infrastructure of our country and the subsequent homelessness. Our immediate relief efforts to assist Dominica in its recovery include donation drives, crowd funding and benefit events. With other news making headlines, we are concerned that those who can help us may forget about Dominica. This is why we are reaching out to you to help us spread the word about situation on the ground in Dominica.
ABOUT BOSTON FOR DOMINICA
Boston for Dominica is a registered 501 (c) (3) non-profit organization in Boston, Massachusetts. It was created in 2015 by Dominicans and friends of Dominica working together to coordinate efforts in response to the devastation of Tropical Storm Erika. Our goal is to provide assistance regarding high priority needs for the people of Dominica, particularly after natural disasters.
The Dominica Ambassador to the UN has officially authorized Boston for Dominica to operate as the official relief entity in Boston, MA on behalf of the government of the Commonwealth of Dominica.
Family Narrowly Escapes Their Home In Dominica During Hurricane Maria