Dominican nationals living in Antigua met at the Dean William Lake Cultural Centre yesterday as they are still desperate for any bit of information about their loved ones after the deadly Hurricane Maria ravaged the nature island on Monday.
The storm, which killed 15 people, cut off all communication services on much of the 290 square mile island, leaving many Dominicans, who reside in Antigua without a way of communicating with their relatives back home and finding out what was happening on the ground .
Though the meeting organised by the Dominica Antigua Relief Fund (DARF) was to discuss relief efforts for the hurricane-ravaged island, those who were in attendance could not help but ask questions to which the panel was unable to answer.
For some, the anguish of waiting to hear from their relatives was too much to bear.
A lady who did not wish to be named said, ”All day I have been crying at work. My boss had to send me home. We can’t hear nothing. My dad is there, my mother’s sister is there and we do not hear anything. When I saw a picture of my village, I broke down.”
Janet Alexis, a Dominican who has been residing in Antigua for over 30 years, also shared her feelings. Holding back tears, Alexis said she is yet to hear from her sister and other family members who live in a village which is close to the sea.
“I just want to encourage everyone here to keep hope alive. I was a young child during Hurricane David, and what I saw from this recent storm it is worse that Hurricane David,” Alexis said.
She also encouraged her compatriots to form a support group so they can lean on each other’s strength.
A woman, who identified herself as a registered nurse at the Mount St John’s Medical Centre (MSJMC), inquired about the patients and staff of the main general hospital in Dominica, some of whom had to be evacuated.
“We were told the patients in the Intensive Care Unit were relocated to Martinique, but we still do not have any information about the others. My sister works there. The last word I received from her in a message was a scream,” the woman said.