As Caribbean nations surveyed the damage wrought by Hurricane Irma, other communities found themselves in the path of yet another dangerous storm.
On 19 September 2017, Hurricane Maria reached the Caribbean. The category 5 storm brought further devastation to several regions, particularly the small island nation of Dominica.
Dominica was the first island to be hit by Hurricane Maria when it was at its peak strength. Seven people have been confirmed dead but according to authorities this number is likely to rise as rescue services struggle to reach parts of the island.
“For three long days [following the storm] we had no communication with our loved ones [in Dominica],” says Ava Vidal, a comedian and journalist living in the UK who has many friends and family on the island.
“[Communication] is slowly being restored but has not reached the whole island yet. There is hardly anything left of the island, there is no access to cash and nothing to buy anyway.”
Authorities in Dominica have confirmed that there is severe damage to most buildings and roads, that certain areas remain unreachable and it is currently very difficult to communicate with the outside world, despite being two weeks since the storm hit.
With access to cash limited and lack of communication rife, the importance of mobile phones is becoming more and more apparent in Dominica as residents struggle to communicate with rescue teams, loved ones abroad as well as friends and family on the island.
“The message that keeps getting repeated to me is that the most important thing we can do is to top-up their phones,” says Ava.
Ding has donated a small number of top-ups to those in Dominica in desperate need but we can’t do it alone. To send a mobile top-up to a Flow or Digicel phone in Dominica, simply click here, enter the number you would like to top-up and send a top-up to those who need it most. These mobile top-ups are still vital for many of the residents of Dominica.
Ding’s thoughts are with everyone who has been affected by recent events in the Caribbean.