The endless hurricane:
Documenting life in the shelters one year and half after Maria hit Dominica
By Fernando Briones*1
In September 2017 Hurricane Maria struck Dominica before pursue its trajectory to Puerto Rico. The small island (pop. 74,000) in the eastern Caribbean between Guadeloupe and Martinique, not to be confused with the Dominican Republic, was sweep out for the first time by a Category 5 hurricane since records began.
Eclipsed by the media coverage in Texas and Puerto Rico, Dominica its recovering slowly. One year and half after this extreme hydro-meteorological event, the impact remains noticeable by the number of destroyed houses along the island. Less visible is life in shelters, generally improvised schools without basic services as toilets and in some of them, running water and electricity.
For those who don’t have the resources to rebuild their homes, to live in shelters is the only choice: the impact in their health and capacity to recovery is jeopardized. For them, the hurricane Maria still is happening now. These recent photographs show the first climate change displaced people in Dominica, and testimony that disasters are also long-term social process and not just a temporary weather related events.
*1 : Researcher at University of Colorado, Boulder.
Special thanks to Alumni TIES for travel support.
This news is related to one of the 12 themes of the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement’s World Conference on Health and Climate Change.