United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres visited Dominica on Sunday, taking stock of the immense damage caused by Hurricane Maria last month and the relief efforts underway, as well as paying tribute to its leaders for their vision to not only rebuild but to become the world's first climate-resilient nation.
The category-5 storm made landfall on 18 September, thrashing the country with extreme winds and rain. It left people without electricity and water, destroyed homes and health clinics and isolated communities on the mountainous island. The UN and its partners recently launched an appeal for $31.1 million to reach over 90 per cent of Dominicans – some 65,000 people – in the next three months.
“I have never seen anywhere else in the world a forest completely decimated without one single leaf on any tree,” said Mr. Guterres, who flew by helicopter over some of the most affected areas. “In every community, most of the buildings are destroyed or heavily damaged.”
Speaking at a joint press conference with Prime Minister Roosevelt Skerrit in the capital, Roseau, Mr. Guterres echoed concerns similar to those expressed yesterday during a visit to Antigua and Barbuda, where he witnessed the destruction caused by Hurricane Irma and met with displaced persons.
Secretary-General António Guterres tours Dominica in the aftermath of the devastation left behind by Hurricane Maria. UN Photo/Rick Bajornas
“One is to make sure the international community fully recognizes that the intensity of hurricanes and multiplication of hurricanes in the Caribbean in this season is not an accident. It is the result of climate change.”