As many of you already know, Dominica (a small Caribbean island) - was directly hit Monday night (September 18th), by Maria, as a Category 5 Hurricane. The extent of the destruction and number of casualties are still being uncovered, as there has been a widespread loss of communication across the country.
As of right now, we have heard that 70 per cent of homes have lost their roofs, and the overall devastation is being referred to as "mind-boggling".
Dominica, as many of our friends know, is a very special place to Keri and I. Keri has been travelling there with his family since he was about 5 years old, and has grown up with many of the people on the island. As an adult, he has organized an annual trip there, for a small group of people to swim with their resident sperm whale population (under permit). For the last 2 years, I have been joining him, spending a month on the island both times.
We've become close friends with many of the people on the island, and have also fallen in love with the incredible scenery, wildlife, and of course, stray animals.
Dominica has SO many stray dogs and cats and this past year, we visited, played with, and brought food to a group of them nearly every day.
The previous year, we also adopted a tiny kitten from the island that we found on the streets.
I am so worried not only for the people of Dominica, but also the animals, and hope they were able to survive.
Dominica is a stunningly beautiful and mountainous island, but as a result of all their beautiful mountains, they are very susceptible to flooding.
Keri has personally witnessed flash flooding which was just the result of heavy rainfall, so I can't even bear to imagine what the result of a hurricane is.
You may also know that Dominica was hit by Tropical Storm Erika in 2015, which killed 30 people and destroyed hundreds of homes.
The country has still not recovered from that, and I personally have seen the resultant damage from Erika on my last visits. There are still homes that are in pieces on the ground, and parts of roads missing that have literally just fallen off the sides of cliffs.
We are praying that Dominica is able to recover from this Hurricane, but we know that they will need (a lot) of help.
We have decided to collect donations to assist the people, and animals, of Dominica however they require it.
We will be speaking with locals and government officials that we personally know on the island, in addition to a few other fundraiser pages, to determine how the donations can be used to maximize assistance.
A donation of ANY amount would be SO greatly appreciated.
Thank-you everyone in advance for your help!
Lisa & Keri