Just days after it was brushed by Hurricane Irma, the Caribbean island of Dominica has been left devastated by Hurricane Maria, which is rapidly strengthening as it heads toward Puerto Rico, the Dominican Republic and Haiti.
The Category 5 storm, with winds clocking at more than 160 mph, hit Dominica on Monday evening, leaving what Dominica Prime Minister Roosevelt Skeritt described on Tuesday as “widespread devastation.”
Skeritt shared live updates of the storm on his Facebook page on Monday evening. “Certainly no sleep for anyone in Dominica. I believe my residence may have sustained some damage,” his first post read. He later added “Rough! Rough! Rough!” and then “My roof is gone. I am at the complete mercy of the hurricane. House is flooding.”
Roughly an hour later, Skeritt confirmed that he had been rescued. “Initial reports are of widespread devastation,” he wrote. “So far we have lost all what money can buy and replace. My greatest fear for the morning is that we will wake to news of serious physical injury and possible deaths as a result of likely landslides triggered by persistent rains.”
Skeritt said his main focus was now on rescuing those trapped and securing medical assistance for the injured. “I am eager now to solicit the support of friendly nations and organisations with helicopter services,” he wrote. “I personally am eager to get up and get around the country to see and determine what’s needed.”
Hurricane warnings had been posted for the U.S. and British Virgin Islands, Puerto Rico, Guadeloupe, Dominica, St. Kitts, Nevis and Montserrat. A tropical storm warning had been issued for Martinique, Antigua and Barbuda, Saba, St. Eustatius, St. Maarten, St. Lucia and Anguilla.