Dominica, which suffered a Category 5 direct hit from Hurricane Maria, remains devastated a month later.
The aftermath has been as devastating as the storm itself. Power is out to nearly the entire island, as is potable water. Even the sewage system was destroyed, and citizens are at risk of diarrhea and dysentery, a local report found.
Aid has been slow to arrive, leaving the nation in limbo nearly a month after the hurricane. Much of the focus has been on the recovery of U.S. territories like Puerto Rico and US Virgin Islands. The island of Dominica has struggled to recover, and thousands are trying to rebuild after losing everything.
The Caribbean Disaster Emergency Management Agency (CDEMA) has released an update on the hurricane’s effect. CDEMA said the storm killed 26 and at least 31 people are still missing.
Almost everybody on the island of 75,000 was impacted by the catastrophe – including the leader.
“You can still see the shock, the anxiety, the fear, the trauma in the eyes and the expressions of people every day,” Prime Minister Roosevelt Skerrit said. “Their entire life investments, life’s savings, blown away”.
The UK’s Royal Navy sent a support vessel to the island, but the response needed is massive, Commanding Officer Stephen Norris told reporters.
“Maria wasn’t a hurricane – it was a demon,” 49-year-old Mervin Henderson told IRIN News.
With so much debris and so few places to dispose of it, locals have piled it into massive heaps and set it on fire, filling the air with thick smoke all across the island.
According to local media, the International Red Cross has appealed for $5.6 million [£4.26million] to carry out operations on Dominica.
However, with the region’s many other emergencies because of a crippling hurricane season, securing the money has been difficult.