Tuesday 17 October, 2017

Dominican national: My good friends died in Hurricane Maria

A Dominican national who lives in Trinidad and Tobago is today, praising Caribbean islands for their help in rendering assistance to his homeland, following the passage of the catastrophic Hurricane Maria.

Trevor Johnson, 47, has been living and employed in Trinidad and Tobago since 1998, but still frequently visits the country of his birth.

Speaking with Loop TT, Johnson said he has lost several friends as a result of the category 5 hurricane which battered the island of Dominica on Monday evening.

He said about eight people he knew from his community have died, adding that the devastation is finally beginning to register.

“So far, on the ground, I heard it’s over 50 people have died. Officially, I think they said it’s about 29. But of course, there are communities that are not visited yet because Dominica is very mountainous and some roads are one way in, one way out and are impassable due to landslides. They would need to get to those communities by helicopter or by sea. Some of these people when I go to Dominica, we would have a drink, hang out. ”

Johnson also spoke about his fear of losing his family, while he was at the comfort of his Fort George, St James home.

“By 7:30 a lot of the roofs were removed from people’s home, blown away. My sister, I spoke to her up until 1:30 am and soon after, the communication was shut down in Dominica. So, her home, the roof was damaged by 8 o’clock that night.”

“Since then, I’ve been advised that she’s not injured, she and her family, they’re not injured. Her husband is a police officer so he moved her to the police station but I was worried for my nieces because they are young.”

“Now this is island wide and this is bad, so I’m worried for my people.”

Johnson also called on regional heads to assist Dominicans as they try to rebuild their lives.

He said, ‘It’s going to take a lot of effort.”

Meanwhile, the Dominican national praised Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley for the initiatives he outlined to assist the storm-ravaged nation.

At the post-cabinet news conference on Thursday, Dr Rowley said Trinidad and Tobago will open its doors, homes, pots and schools to the citizens of Dominica.

“I’m really pleased by what Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley is doing and his cabinet. Every day, I have people around the world coming to me and saying to me, ‘if you know these Ministers personally thank them and let them know we appreciate it.’ As far as I am concerned, the Government is doing what I think they can do at the moment and the people of Trinidad have been driving around and doing things to donate. People are calling me to collect stuff. The people are contributing, the people in the Government with their limited resources are contributing and the people of Dominica appreciate that.”

Johnson said Dominica’s main source of income; Tourism and Agriculture, have both suffered as a result of hurricanes and tropical storms which hit the island.

He said, “Tourism is dead, agriculture is dead.”

He also pleaded with citizens of Trinidad and Tobago to donate whatever they can, as he said it is easy to take what we have for granted.

“Even if it is a bottle of lotion, even if it’s insecticides, a bottle of Protox. Anything that you have, just send it to the people, they need it. The things I could afford here, my people, they can’t. So the things that I see being shipped, they will have food for a very long time.”

Persons interested in donating hurricane relief items can contact the ODPM at 555 or the ODPM's website at publicinfo.odpm@gmail.com