A United States military cargo plane carrying a shipment of relief supplies landed on the Caribbean nation of Dominica on Friday, according to the US embassy in Barbados, the Eastern Caribbean, and the Organization of East Caribbean States.
The shipment contained wheelchairs, bedpans, adult diapers, household supplies, building materials and school craft supplies
United States Agency for International Development Director Christopher Cushing was in Dominica when the shipment arrived.
“My colleagues and I at the U.S. Embassy are pleased to support this important shipment, which signals the United States Government’s ongoing commitment to support the Government and people of Dominica in their rebuilding efforts,” he said.
US citizens and organizations have contributed more than $6.5 million in disaster relief assistance to Dominica.
The shipment was made possible by the Denton Program which “allows private U.S. citizens and organizations to use space available on U.S. military cargo planes to transport humanitarian goods to countries in need.”
Long recovery ahead
Dominica suffered a direct hit from Hurricane Maria last September. The impact of the category 5 storm was recorded through Facebook posts by Prime Minister Roosevelt Skerrit.
During the storm, Skerrit described the winds as “merciless” saying that he could hear the roofs of homes flying through the air.
At one point his own roof came off and his home began to flood before he was rescued.
“Initial reports are of widespread devastation. So far we have lost all what money can buy and replace. My greatest fear for the morning is that we will wake to news of serious physical injury and possible deaths as a result of likely landslides triggered by persistent rains,” Skerrit posted after the storm past over his country.
Because of the island’s heavy reliance on tourism, recovery from Hurricane Maria has been slow. While some tourism infrastructure has been repaired, the island is nowhere near back to normal.
“Dominica is still in recovery mode, and with no single, definitive source for information, figuring out what’s functioning — and what is not — remains a challenge. Plan on arriving with plenty of time to explore, and an abundance of patience,” according to Matt Gross for The New York Times.