To the Editor:
On September 18, 2017, Hurricane Maria devastated the Commonwealth of Dominica. The category 5 hurricane caused more than half a billion dollars in island-wide damage, killing at least 30 people, with some still unaccounted for.
The destructive winds and heavy rains caused severe flooding, wiped out roads and bridges, knocked down power lines, cut off water supplies, and totally disabled the communications system.
The extent of the damage was staggering – the main hospital was severely damaged, leaving patient care compromised. Many communities were left unrecognizable. 90 percent of homes, schools, and businesses were without roofs and some people are still without electricity and running water.
In response to this tragedy, the Boston for Dominica organization has coordinated relief efforts through the collection of donations from the Greater Boston community, and shipped a 40-foot container with urgent supplies containing 52 boxes of non-perishable food, 21 boxes of clothing, 21 boxes of medical supplies, 533 cases of bottled water, 36 tarpaulins, 50 sheets of plywood, 46 pieces of lumber, 1 generator, and boxes of miscellaneous items.
In addition, we have sent several other shipments to Dominica, including 14 barrels of food, clothing, and medical supplies, 9 barrels of school supplies, and 10 barrels of bedsheets to various institutions, such as the Grotto Home, Dominica Association of Persons with Disability, Mahaut Home for the Elderly, Dominica Infirmary, St. Vincent De Paul Society and Princess Margaret Hospital.
We also received financial contributions and have hosted various fundraising events to support our relief efforts. After reviewing and prioritizing areas of need in Dominica, we have decided to distribute the funds raised as follows: A total of $80,000 will be allocated to housing roof repair, solar panels, and first response equipment and training.
Despite all that Dominica has had to endure, the island has made remarkable progress. There is optimism in the air. However, there is still a lot more work to be done –-upgrading the healthcare system, rebuilding housing, making drinking water more accessible and completely restoring the telecommunications system. This is why we continue our fundraising initiatives. Together with the people of Dominica, we stand resolute to Building Back Better.
For more information or to donate email BostonforDominica@gmail.com and follow us online at Facebook/BostonforDominica.com.