Dominica observing first anniversary of Hurricane Maria

Some of the damage in Portsmouth, Dominica, following the passage of Hurricane Maria. (M. Elcock/BGIS)

Dominica is observing the first anniversary of the devastation caused by Hurricane Maria last September that killed at least 30 people with Prime Minister Roosevelt Skerrit praising God and insisting that “considerable progress” had been made in the rehabilitation exercise..

”There are some positive signs, obviously there are challenges. You will always have challenges far more after a Category 5 hurricane that impacted every facet of our society,” Prime Minister Skerrit said.

Aerial view of damage caused by Hurricane Maria (File Photo)

“All things considered we have done well based on what independent observers are saying. They too have recognised the efforts that we have made and one has to appreciate too (that) a lot of what we have been able to do thus far…have been done utilising our own resources,” Skerrit said on the state-owned DBS radio on Tuesday.

“But I think we have to be grateful and thankful to the Almighty for where we are today. Do I see the glass half full or half empty? I see the glass half full and it is a matter for us to pour into this glass to the point where it gets to the brim and we would have addressed significantly all the issues confronting our country,” he told radio listeners.

On September 18 last year, Hurricane Maria packing winds in excess of 160 miles per hour slammed into the Caribbean island as it made its way through the Lesser Antilles, leaving 30 dead, another 30 missing and damage estimated at millions of dollars (One EC dollar=US$0.37 cents).

Skerrit said that “all things considered we have made considerable progress.

“We have been able to get back all our schools functional, we have been able to get electricity and water back to every community in the country. We have been able to help thousands of citizens have their homes recovered and repaired.

“We have signed contacts for several hundreds of housing units…constructed and under construction,” he said, adding that the island has also resumed exporting agricultural produce to overseas markets.

“Business activity in Dominica is largely back to normal, so one can say there has been tremendous progress and we have been able to mobilise the international and regional communities to our assistance and their commitments to significant sums of funds to assist in building the world’s first climate resilient nation,” Skerrit said.

He told the nation that there has also been tremendous progress within the tourism industry with many hotels under construction continuing apace and others expanding their properties.

Some people who were interviewed by DBS radio said they were pleased with the progress being made one year later, with many praising God for saving their lives.

“We are getting there. It is one year, but we are getting there. We are thankful for life,” one woman told DBS radio.

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