Hurricane Maria wreaks ‘devastation’ in Dominica

Pointe-à-Pitre: Hurricane Maria smashed into the eastern Caribbean island of Dominica on Tuesday, with its prime minister describing devastating damage as winds and rain from the storm also hit territories still reeling from Irma.
Maria, which has been fluctuating in intensity between a Category Four and Category Five hurricane on its path through the Caribbean, hit Dominica with winds of up to 160 257 kilometres per hour, the US National Hurricane Centre (NHC) said.
“We have lost all what money can buy and replace,” Dominica’s premier Roosevelt Skerrit posted on Facebook, saying there were initial reports of “widespread devastation”.
“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.”
Earlier, he said his roof had been blown off and house flooded, leaving him “at the complete mercy of the hurricane”.
After being rescued, Skerrit appealed for “help of all kinds” but noted specifically that authorities would need helicopters to survey the damage.
Dominica’s airport and ports have been closed. After moving across the tropical island of 72,000 people, Maria churning north towards the British Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico.
The British archipelago, which is still mopping up after Hurricane Irma earlier this month, has been under curfew since Monday, with residents ordered to stay indoors until after the storm, which is expected to hit on Wednesday. “Our islands are extremely vulnerable right now,” the territory’s premier Orlando Smith said in a statement, warning that the storm could turn debris left by Irma into dangerous projectiles. — AFP