Wed | Dec 12, 2018

'We've lost all that money can buy,' Dominican PM says country wrecked by #HurricaneMaria

Published:Tuesday | September 19, 2017 | 8:53 AM
The forecast track of Hurricane Maria will bring it close to some countries that were recently battered by Hurricane Irma.

It was a sleepless night in the tiny eastern Caribbean island of Dominica last night as a powerful category five Hurricane Maria tore through the country leaving what Prime Minister Roosevelt Skerrit describes as widespread devastation.

"So far we have lost all what money can buy and replace," Skerrit posted on his Facebook page before dawn.

He had earlier lost the roof to his official residence and had to be rescued as water poured into the house.

"This apparently triggered an avalanche of torn away roofs in the city and the countryside," Skerrit said, noting that his greatest fear was to wake to news of serious physical injury and possible deaths as a result of likely landslides triggered by persistent rains.

Skerrit has planned to hit the road, as soon as the all clear is given, in search of the injured and those trapped in the rubble.

We will need help
"I am honestly not preoccupied with physical damage at this time, because it is devastating. Indeed, mind boggling. My focus now is in rescuing the trapped and securing medical assistance for the injured," he said.

"We will need help, my friend, we will need help of all kinds."

The Prime Minister said it was too early to speak of the condition of the air and seaports, but suspected both will be inoperable for a few days as he called out for help of countries with helicopter services so that he could survey the damage.

Medical doctor and political activist Sam Christian, sent a Whats App message narrating a night of terror he has never seen before.

"The wind is howling outside, screaming,  screeching like a hundred freight trains circling overhead. The night sky is being lit up like a grand finale of fireworks that will never end. Rain is being blown through the doors and windows, water is pouring from the ceiling in every room, we have stopped putting buckets in to collect water," he said, noting that he was in ankle deep water.

Maria is moving toward the west-northwest near 9 mph, and this general motion is expected to continue through Wednesday. 

On the forecast track, the eye of Maria will move over the north eastern Caribbean Sea today, and approach the Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico tonight and Wednesday.

Now category four
Maximum sustained winds are near 155 mph with higher gusts with Maria now a category four  hurricane. 

The National Hurricane Center says some fluctuations in intensity are likely during the next day or two, but Maria is forecast to remain an extremely dangerous category four or five hurricane while it approaches the Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico. 

Hurricane-force winds extend outward up to 30 miles from the centre and tropical-storm-force winds extend outward up to 125 miles.