Collapsed walls, exposed roofs and crumbling roads remain in Dominica. The last six months have seen building work get under way to repair the damage. There is now a new layer of pressure with that construction, as hurricane season begins in June.
Relief agency teams prepare roofs and fix homes. As part of the government’s aim to have a "climate resilient nation", hurricane straps are being installed to hold down roofs in case the bad weather returns. However, building materials have become expensive due to demand. Coupled with insurance problems, locals are struggling to rebuild on time.
Minister for Foreign Affairs Francine Baron admits this. It's capitalism, she says. Over 85% of homes were damaged during Maria, a majority will be left undone as the next hurricane season approaches.
International relief agencies are trying to make a difference on the ground. They offer cash transfer payments, a small white credit card style card with almost 1,000 Eastern Caribbean dollars on it, to buy food and supplies.
However, there are angry scenes from communities because not all can access the fund. Overseas organisations are confronted by some locals daily, asking and pleading why they cannot access the money. They regret that they can only help the most vulnerable.
We must remember omore than 60,000 people were affected by Hurricane Maria and only 2,000 people are eligible for this emergency fund. Thousands of Dominicans lost their jobs following the disaster so money is on the minds of many.
Water, electricity and shelter are small comforts that a lot of Dominicans do not have. Six months on, there is no major transformation on the island. Electricity poles lean heavily to one side, cables swing in every direction and blue plastic roofs fill the skyline.
With roofless homes, no income, a low food stock and fading hope, Dominica’s morale is disappearing. There are fears there will be a repeat of Hurricane Maria this summer. The island will find that out soon, when hurricane season starts in June. It’s no surprise that families are fleeing to neighbouring islands to protect themselves. For those left in Dominica, they wait and hope the next few months pass calmly.