Hurricane Maria causing widespread devastation in the Caribbean after Hurricane IRMA (Update#3, 06 Oct 2017)
Maria followed a similar track to Irma, hitting small island developing states which were already battered by Irma. It is exceptionally rare to have two category 5 hurricanes in such a short space of time and on a similar track. Maria hit more particularly Dominica, Guadeloupe, Anguilla, the US and the British Virgin Islands, Puerto Rico and part of the Dominican Republic. Other countries / territories in the Northern Caribbean could feel the effects of Maria with heavy rains and strong winds in Saint Martin, Sint Maarten, Sint Eustatius, Antigua and Barbuda and Saint Kitts and Nevis who were this time less affected than with IRMA.
CaribVET continues to actively seek contact with its members and colleagues by any mean using Whatsapp, Text, E-Mail, Facebook, Skype or the "hurricane Maria Safety Check" and, above all, the fantastic connections between the members of the network who are highly mobilized and manage to enter in contact with our colleagues's friends or relatives. They also are able to know priority assistance needed where the network can possibly assist.
Of the islands impacted greatly by Maria, we have not heard from a lot of members since she passed but as Communications come back, we give below an update for each island
Dominica: we got the information that the entire vet staff of Dominica is safe but they all suffered significant property damages. Gina Harris-Alleyne and her family are also safe. Dr Nadia Anselm (involved in the One Health project) lost everything and might relocate to Barbados as she works for the Regional Propel Project with offices in Barbados, Jamaica and Guyana. Her husband, Ryan Anselm, FAO National Correspondent there, says there is intermittent internet. We keep on trying to get news from the many other members of the Lepto group from the Ministry of Health side as well as another young vet (Dr Nicky Laurent) recently integrated to the veterinary services. (Comm. Cedric Lazarus, FAO Panama and Pattie Bedford, Barbados).
The vet services building is badly damaged as sections of the roof were blown away. The lab survived however damages occurred due to vandalism.
Of the colleagues from the Ministry of Health, involved in the CaribVET Lepto group and in the One Health project, we heard only from Shalauddin Ahmed and his family who are safe with house much damaged (comm. Adana Mahase-Gibson, UWI, Trinidad and Tobago).
Guadeloupe: all staff from the Veterinary Services and Cirad are safe and Ok. The entire archipelago felt very strong to ferocious winds and heavy rains, according to the areas. It resulted in floodings (Grande Terre mostly), localised mudslides, as well as coastal damages in both the atlantic and caribbean side. The vegetation suffered extensive damages but habitat and infrastrure was damaged mainly in Souther areas and in Les saintes islands located between Guadeloupe and Dominica. The laboratory suffered minor damages and the BSL 3 was intact (Comm. Jennifer Pradel, CIRAD Guadeloupe and Anne Chemel, DAAF Guadeloupe).
Montserrat: The CVO is Ok "We are without power and with a sketchy phone service. Power lines and poles are down, trees are down in the road. The houses survived with only a few older wooden structures being damaged. Good infrastructure, lots of concrete roofs" (Comm. Selvyn Maloney, vet services, Montserrat)
The Dominican Republic: Colleagues from veterinary Services and USDA are ok. "Although the DR did not receive a direct impact of both storms, things are difficult. A lot of areas were flooded during Maria, and still are under emergency. Any rain is causing serious damage, as soil is saturated and rivers can’t take more water" (Comm. Paula Morales, USDA Dominican Republic)
Tortola, British Virgin Islands: Our colleagues are fine. Lot of damages. "I lost communication from time Irma had hit! The way forward will take a while but I've seen progress on a daily basis. I wish that everybody is well and safe. God bless" (comm . Latish Martin, Ministry of Agriculture, Tortola)
Bahamas, Saint Martin/Saint Barthélémy, Sint Maarten were much less affected this time and were cleared the following day. All our colleagues are fine (Comm. Godfrey Springer, vet. services Bahamas; Michel Vély, veterinary services Saint Martin/Saint Barthélémy, Mervyn Butcher, Ministry of Sint Maarten).
USVI - St Croix was spared with IRMA but was hit this time by MARIA. The CVO is sound and safe, however Saint Croix is a disaster (Comm Bethany Bradford, USVI).
No direct news from Puerto Rico where we know how difficult the situation is