"People are still living in the ravine"
Siboulie Ravine killed 13 people in Pointe Michel but two years later not much has changed
Last week Dominicans observed the anniversary of the death and destruction wrought by the category-five storm Hurricane Maria, mainly with a six-hour lavish thanksgiving free-concert featuring American, Barbadian and Dominican artistes.
The storm made landfall on Dominica on 18th September 2017- two years ago.
Although the whole island was devastated by the winds, the landslides and the rain of Maria, death and hardship hit Pointe Michel, that south western village, most ferociously.
Thirteen of the 64 people, who perished in Dominica because of Maria, died in Pointe Michel. A plaque with the names of those who died in Pointe Michel during the hurricane has been erected near the Siboulie Ravine, whose raging waters swept everything in its path.
Now two years later the people of Pointe Michel are still mourning, still wondering where to turn, still traumatised.
Danny Williams lost an entire family - his mom Ann Landocque, his sister, his nieces and nephews. The Siboulie Ravine washed away his mother and sister's house while they were inside.
"I am trying my best right now…it's been very hard for me since I am on my own. With no help from government I have to always be on the move to feed my now four-year-old daughter who has just started primary school," he said.
Sobering and fighting back tears, Williams said he is yet to find a proper place to live since his house disappeared during Maria; he is still living with a friend.
"Right now I am still at the same place where I sought shelter from a friend after Hurricane Maria…I am just trying to survive and start all over again. It's hard for me. I was close to my mom and the rest of our siblings. I had just built my house and I lost it all," he stated.
He continued: "We are still in the ravine, nowhere to go. I am on my own. I have spoken to the Prime Minister personally when he came to Pointe Michel with Prince Charles and he promised to take care of me and to date nothing has happen.
"With God I am surviving and I putting God first in everything. When I hear thunder I get frighten, I just don't want to hear about hurricanes. It is tough for me but I just know that I have to keep strong. I want people to hold strong and prepare," Williams said.
Melvina Boyer lives near the mouth of the ravine in Siboulie and witness the destruction it caused during Hurricane Maria. Boyer lost her nephew and had to abandon her house as the ravine flooded it.
"Every time it's raining I get flash back. As you are aware I am in the mouth of the ravine. We are praying and I asking God to put a hand. People are still residing in the ravine because they have no place to go. People are crying to help and for a proper place…it is hard, it is rough," she said. "September 19, 2019 is the feast of Our Lady of La Salette in Pointe Michel; we have had nine days of novena prayers, and we need more. People are hurting and still traumatized; it is just rough in the village and the scars cannot and will not go away."