Speaking from the OECS Commission in Saint Lucia, OECS Director General Dr. Didacus Jules reflected on the three-year anniversary of Hurricane Maria noting the need for the region to remain vigilant and prepared.
It has been three years since Hurricane Maria made landfall in the Commonwealth of Dominica on the evening of September 18, 2017. In a matter of hours, the lush tropical paradise – affectionately known as “the nature isle” of the Caribbean – was stripped bare.
Defenseless against the sudden onslaught of rain and 160 mph (260 kph) winds, the island was ravaged by the deadly category 5 storm, suffering massive infrastructural damage and losing at least 30 souls.
The Director-General said, “On this anniversary, while we reflect on the devastation wrought by Hurricane Maria, we also take stock of the immense progress that has been achieved to date to bring Dominica back to the lush unspoiled paradise we all know and love.”
He added, “In the last three years, thankfully, the OECS region has been spared another direct hit by a storm of this magnitude. The destruction in the Bahamas caused by Hurricane Dorian in 2019, however, and the extremely busy hurricane season witnessed this year are reminders of the urgent need to bolster regional climate resilience in the areas of information technology, financial services, healthcare, and disaster risk mitigation.”
“The OECS Commission is committed to continue working with development partners to secure strategic support for Member States in these critical areas.”