Given the tragic Caribbean weather events of 2017 and social media reports of Maria’s massive devastation, I rarely, if ever, hear anything about Dominica, which even journalists who should know better have “misidentified” as the Dominican Republic. Reported”.
I received this tweet from UNICEF this week.
With such conditions, disaster was inevitable:
Al Jazeera’s Gabriel Elizondo filed this report five days after Dominica was hit.
The figures for five days were disturbing-
Hurricane Maria has so far killed at least 33 people, most of them on the tiny island of Dominica. At least 80 percent of the buildings there have been damaged and most of the communication lines have been cut.
-But it will only get worse.
This guardian The report was poignant, beginning with the headline: “My trip to Dominica after the storm: ‘Some people don’t have bodies to bury’”
The journalist had family on the island, adding a deeply personal layer to his reporting.
This year the Caribbean experienced its most destructive hurricane season in decades. While larger countries dominated the headlines, the small island nation of Dominica faced its worst disaster ever. Josh Toussaint-Strauss visits his family in the country and asks how Dominicans see their future, with next year forecast to be even worse.
Five years later, on September 18, 2022, the Prime Minister of the Commonwealth of Dominica, Roosevelt Skerritt, issued this statement on Maria’s anniversary.
He pointed to improvements since then.
Not all Dominicans agree with his assessment. A 2021 editorial in Sun Dominica Begs to differ. The story begins with an excerpt from a story by Dominican author Dorothy Levy:
“Did the trees protest as you mercilessly cut off their limbs and leaves? Did the old and strong trunks scream as your mini wind uprooted or uprooted them?
Did you enjoy the cry of the mountains, as you pulled out large chunks, breaking them?…
… The closed doors rattled, cracked, shook under the onslaught of your winds. You sucked in your breath sadly, then let it out with crushing force, like the sea pulling water from the shore, then crashing onto the ground, destroying everything in its path. eardrums felt as if they would burst; The house seemed ready to be picked up one minute, ready to be blown up the next. This one-sided battle seemed endless…”
From “Dear Maria” by Dorothy Levy
The editorial itself is pretty damning:
… The island is still reeling from the heavy psychological toll that the storm inflicted on residents. It will take decades for this island to recover and anyone who says so is either blind to reality or trying to fool you.
For example, the island’s economy is still crumbling; Sectors such as agriculture, tourism, and manufacturing have not “recovered” and will not fully recover to pre-hit levels for many, many years, perhaps decades.
The point is, if you accept that the damage Maria did to Dominica, one of the poorest islands in the Eastern Caribbean, was mind-boggling, you can’t imagine its “recovery” within four years. How can you explain? Where did the money come from and how much was spent?
Moving on to the US Virgin Islands (USVI), cultural conservationist Julio Encarnacion III’s website The Native Sun produced this video, “We Forgot – St. Croix US Virgin Islands,” just a month after Maria.
Remember reports like this?
The voice that spoke for the USVI, battered by back-to-back hurricanes that broke the media silence during both (Irma and then Maria), was that of NBA basketball legend Tim Duncan.
And then of course there was Maria’s complete devastation of Puerto Rico. Many of you will remember seeing the first video on the national broadcast, as this ABC report:
Or maybe this, from AJ+:
PBS reported on the terms a week later.
Many of us have seen videos that residents were posting on social media, such as – where a family cannot leave due to high, rushing flood waters.
Soon after, then-President Donald Trump was called out for his slow response to the disaster.
Meanwhile, some folks here at Daily Kos tried to raise awareness and funds by creating a #SOSPertoRico community group on September 27, 2017; We continue to follow events there, today and beyond.
Six months after Maria hit Puerto Rico, calls for help highlight the disparate treatment Puerto Ricans received, as noted in this feature. Patron: “We’re Americans too, why don’t they help?”
A year after Maria, Academy Award-winning Puerto Rican actress Rita Moreno told this story Miami Heraldwhich noted that “the official death toll now stands at 2,975, making Maria one of the deadliest natural disasters in US history.”
I don’t know if you know anyone who died during or as a result of Hurricane Maria. Many names of missing people and their stories, are collected here in this database. Take a short time and do some reading.
Hundreds of families told us how their loved ones died after Hurricane Maria hit Puerto Rico. This database of stories is the most comprehensive record ever of who died and why.
Every year on Maria’s anniversary, stories are told about how the island’s colonial status has allowed the US government to continue to treat its citizens as second-class. Every year we see evidence of this, whether it’s homes that still have blue wires, or blackouts without hurricanes due to LUMA Energy’s failures, or power over island finances vested in an unelected oversight board. and control. , dubbed “La Junta” by the islands.
That’s why we are here. Five years later.
People Here on the mainland, people have turned the five years of planned events since Maria into an effort to once again raise funds and garner support, central Fiona.
In Central Florida:
And in Chicago:
Some events combined the two disasters, such as in New York City:
Others, like the one in Berkeley, focused on Maria one day, only to find themselves focusing on Fiona the next.
I want to say more, because I’m still angry. But I have posted enough here, and must stop here. Join me in the comments for what you can do to help, and additional information for the weekly Caribbean News Roundup.
Finally: remember the dead, and support the living.