Dominica PM live-blogs Maria: 'I am at the complete mercy of the hurricane'

By Ray Downs   |   Sept. 19, 2017 at 2:12 AM
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Sept. 19 (UPI) -- Dominca Prime Minister Roosevelt Skerrit said he needed to be rescued from his damaged home after Hurricane Maria hit his island nation as a powerful Category 5 storm.

"The winds are merciless! We shall survive by the grace of God!" Skerrit wrote on Facebook Monday night as the eye of the storm, with winds of up to 160 mph, swept over the island. "We do not know what is happening outside. We not dare look out. All we are hearing is the sound of galvanize flying. The sound of the fury of the wind. As we pray for its end!"

"Rough! Rough! Rough!" he wrote an hour later. "My roof is gone. I am at the complete mercy of the hurricane. House is flooding."

Moments later, Skerrit said, "I have been rescued."

After Maria swept through Dominica, Skerrit said the island suffered "widespread devastation."

"So far we have lost all what money can buy and replace," he wrote on Facebook. "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."

Skerrit said many other people lost roofs from the fierce winds and building damage is rampant, creating the possibility people are stuck in the debris.

"Come tomorrow morning we will hit the road, as soon as the all clear is given, in search of the injured and those trapped in the rubble," he said. "I am honestly not preoccupied with physical damage at this time, because it is devastating...indeed, mind boggling. My focus now is in rescuing the trapped and securing medical assistance for the injured."

He added: "We will need help, my friend, we will need help of all kinds."

The Caribbean has been hit hard by hurricanes this season and, before Maria hit, Skerrit urged the 70,000 residents on the island to be prepared, despite the possibility of storm fatigue.

"Fire, ambulance services, police and others have been called out. We should not take this storm lightly," said Skerrit. "I know that there is an exhaustion with all these storms. But we have to treat every single storm with the same level of preparedness."

Maria is now en route towards the Virgin Islands, where it is expected to reach Tuesday and could still be a Category 5 storm.

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