Life on the Caribbean nation of Dominica is slowly recovering after Hurricane Maria as aid efforts produce results but there’s still a lot of work ahead according to the United Nations Resident Coordinator.
“The [relief] operation is going in the right direction,” the U.N. representative Stephen O’Malley told reporters, adding that the country's main port has reopened and supplies are being sent to those in need.
“What was shocking to me was that the island, which was known as ‘the nature island of the Caribbean,’ was almost totally brown [in the wake of the Category 5 storm]. But now, the green has started to come back,” he said.
O’Malley said roads have been cleared and garbage is being collected while electricity is returning to the capital as well as several nearby communities.
Water and food supplies are also being restored.
The official told reporters that the donations from the World Food Programme (WFP) amount to approximately 60 metric tonnes of food.
It was delivered to 30,000 people, about half of the population, last week and over 40 UN agency workers are currently working on the island.
“What we need to do now in Dominica is keep up this regular supply of the basics for people. Make sure the electricity comes up; getting people’s water supplies up; and getting markets open again; as well as health centers,” he said, adding that the government is investigating ways to lift the “economy off the ground.”
O’Malley went on to say that the U.N., its partners, and the Dominican government have agreed to launch a call for an emergency meeting to raise US$31.1 million for 65,000 people over the next three weeks.
Details behind the island’s recovery project will be revealed by Dominican officials in Washington, D.C., during the Fall Meetings of the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund(IMF).
The U.N. delegate estimated the hurricane damage across the Caribbean region from Dominica to Antigua and the Turks and Caicos islands will cost as much as US$1billion in reconstruction costs and says it’s a “large-scale rebuilding effort” that will take time.