The Island of Dominica after Hurricane Maria

Dominica is an island in the Caribbean, home to 72,000 people. On the night of 18th September 2017, Hurricane Maria tore through the island, the first category 5 hurricane to make landfall. Winds of 160 mph and torrential rains destroyed half of all homes and damaged every school and medical centre. Families and businesses faced no running water or power.

In one night, $1.4 billion of damage was inflicted on the island. Insurance paid out just $19 million. The Government had no choice but to go cap in hand to international donors. After several months, a proportion of the money required was raised. But at the end of the day, it was the people of Dominica who are still paying for the vast majority of the damage to their island. This should not be the case – devastated countries need immediate access to the money they need, and it should be the fossil fuel industry, whose activities caused the problem, who foot the bill.

‘Our citizens barely had time to prepare before the ferocious winds and incessant rain began. As night fell we hunkered down to await its onslaught. Some of us were forced to flee our homes in the dark of night. When dawn broke the scenes of utter devastation across this once lush green island were heartbreaking. This is the reality of climate change. Within a few hours an entire country was brought to its knees.’
Hon. Roosevelt Skerrit, Prime Minister of the Commonwealth of Dominica