The prime minister of Dominica, Roosevelt Skerrit, has called for aid after Hurricane Maria devastated the Caribbean island, destroying infrastructure and leaving at least 15 people dead.
“We've never seen such destruction,” Skerrit told ABS TV/Radio in Antigua.
He said Dominica needed water, food, hygiene kits, baby and medical supplies, portable stoves, generators, batteries and flashlights for the relief effort.
Helicopters were also needed to help deliver relief supplies to the island, particularly in areas cut off from the capital Roseau and Indigenous communities in forests, said Skerrit.
According to the prime minister, Dominica is currently without power, landlines and communication via Whatsapp.
Skerrit said the hurricane devastated homes irrespective of their structure or materials — including his own home.
He recalled his own harrowing experience when he was forced to hoist “a mattress over my head” to avoid being hit by the collapsing roof and debris swept by strong winds.
“There were no classes in regard to the hurricane,” he said.
Skerrit confirmed that 15 people had died in the “brutal” and “unprecedented” tropical storm but said it was a “miracle that there weren't many more deaths.”
Skerrit, who wasn't scheduled to attend the 72nd U.N. General Assembly, announced that he will travel to New York tomorrow to ask U.N. member nations to support the recovery efforts in Dominica.
He added it took Hurricane Irma and Maria to teach people that small Caribbean island nations are exposed and vulnerable to the ravages of climate change.
In the aftermath of the hurricane, Prime Minister of Trinidad and Tobago Dr. Keith Rowley announced that all immigration restrictions typically imposed on Dominican citizens will be waived for the next six months — on the condition they can find accommodation on Trinidad and Tobago.
Guyana’s President David Granger said that his country's vast, unused land could be "a gift" to a number of Caribbean islands affected by the hurricanes, according to Trinidad and Tobago Newsday.
Speaking from New York prior to his speech at the U.N. General Assembly, Granger said that his country, as the largest of the Caricom states, must consider how it could turn its unused land into the "hinterland of the Caribbean."