DEVASTATION-Caribbean Islands Hit Hard By Hurricane Maria

 

Dominica Damage

Dominica Damage (PHOTO CREDIT: ABS TELEVISION/RADIO)

Menacing Hurricane Maria is being blamed for two deaths on the French overseas territory of Guadeloupe, after devastating neighboring Dominica.

According to the officials, one of the victims was killed yesterday morning by a falling tree, after not heeding orders to stay indoors. The Associated Press reported the second death today.

Two other people are reported missing after their boat sank off Desirade, the easternmost island in the French territory’s archipelago. Heavy flooding has also been reported across the island.

Seven people have so far been confirmed dead as a result of Hurricane Maria’s direct hit on Dominica on Monday night. But there are fears that death toll could rise as officials get into communities that have not yet been reached.

Much of the island’s housing stock were either damaged or destroyed by Maria’s 160 mile-per-hour winds, according to Hartley Henry, principal advisor to Prime Minister Roosevelt Skerrit.

 

“The country is in a daze – no electricity, no running water as a result of uprooted pipes in most communities and definitely [no] landline or cellphone services on island, and that will be for quite a while,” Henry wrote in a message after speaking to Prime Minister Skerrit this morning via satellite phone.

“In summary, the island has been devastated. The housing stock significantly damaged or destroyed. All available public buildings are being used as shelters, with very limited roofing materials evident. The country needs the support and continued help and prayers of all.”

The first aerial footage from the island, put together from a Regional Security System (RSS) aerial reconnaissance flight, shows flattened buildings, fallen trees, and strewn debris from the Category 5 hurricane.

The US Virgin Islands was also feeling the effects of the hurricane, and the NHC warned that several tornadoes are possible over both Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands today.

Maria, located about  15 miles east southeast of Arecibo, Puerto Rico, and about 25 miles west of San Juan, Puerto Rico, was moving towards the northwest near 12 miles per hour.

“On the forecast track, the center of Maria will move offshore of the northern coast of Puerto Rico during the next couple of hours.  The center will then pass offshore of the northeastern coast of the Dominican Republic tonight and Thursday and then move near the Turks and Caicos Islands and southeastern Bahamas Thursday night and Friday,” the NHC said.

“Little change in strength is forecast during the next 48 hours, and Maria is expected to remain a dangerous hurricane through Friday.”

A hurricane warning is in effect for the US and British Virgin Islands, Puerto Rico, the northern coast of the Dominican Republic, the Turks and Caicos Islands and the southeastern Bahamas, where Maria is expected to bring dangerous wind, storm surge, and heavy rainfall.

A tropical storm warning is in effect for the Dominican Republic west of Puerto Plata to the northern border of the Dominican Republic and Haiti, and the Dominican Republic west of Cabo Engano to Punta Palenque.

And a hurricane watch is in effect for the Dominican Republic, from Isla Saona to Cabo Engano.

While hurricane and tropical storm conditions are occurring over Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands, tropical storm conditions are expected to begin in the warning areas in the Dominican Republic this afternoon, with hurricane conditions starting in the hurricane warning area tonight.

Tropical storm conditions are expected to begin in the Turks and Caicos Islands and the southeastern Bahamas Thursday morning, with hurricane conditions starting Thursday evening.