RTÉ

An RTÉ News Special Report

Dominica
After the Storm

Hurricane Maria was one of the worst natural disasters in Dominica's history. Over 85% of homes were damaged as high winds lifted roofs and caused flash floods. The luscious greenery is growing back. However, there are fears that won't last long as hurricane season begins in June.

Loubiere

"I don't think I will ever be able to come back here to live because of my experience in the hurricane" Glenda Castle, Loubiere.

Pointe Michel

"Dead bodies ... that's what was going through my mind" Madeline Long. Pointe Michel was hit hard during the storm. Dozens of people are missing.

Sailsbury

"It was hell." After losing his farming job, Oneil Aidal says he fell into depression. He wants to send his daughter to university.

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.

Infrastructure

Insurance problems and lack of funding leave roofs and walls exposed. Progress is slow and some locals have had enough. People are leaving the island because of safety concerns.

Roads

Cricket games used to be played here. It's now too dangerous. It's not known whether it will ever be fixed.

Water

Many Dominicans remain without electricity and running water. Some bathe in the river.

Tourism

Tourists visited Dominica to see where Pirates of the Caribbean was filmed. Now, the cruise ship dock remains shut and the international visitor is rare.

Working on Roofs

Work is under way to make the island the first 'climate resilient nation'. Carpenters train locals to repair and reinforce damaged roofs. But supplies are short and expensive.

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.

Religion

The majority of Dominicans are Catholic. They thank the lord they survived the hurricane and pray for the rejuventation of their island.

Animals

Stray dogs wander the streets. Dominicans can't afford to keep them as pets.

Schools & Education

Numbers are dropping in schools. St. Luke's Primary School is down 36 pupils this year. Families left to escape future devastation.

Children

This two-year-old was a baby during the hurricane. She'll never know the lengths her mother went to protect her.

Local Business

Clement Roberts wants a fridge to start his fish business again. He wrote this sign out of desperation.

Dominica's Unknown Future

This is where the Carribean Sea meets the Atlantic Ocean. The government says the future of the island depends on the other side of the Atlantic.

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.