ROSEAU, Dominica – More than 15 people are dead and 20 others remain missing after Hurricane Maria battered this small Caribbean island with winds of 260 kph (160 mph), Dominica’s Prime Minister Roosevelt Skerrit said on Thursday.
“So far, we would have buried in excess of 15 people,” Skerrit told a television station in nearby Antigua and Barbuda.
“If there (are) no other fatalities, it is a miracle,” the prime minister said.
The Category 5 storm struck on Monday, flattening homes and destroying vital infrastructure across Dominica, a nation of roughly 72,000 residents that lies near the French overseas territories of Guadeloupe and Martinique.
The United Kingdom has dispatched aid to Dominica, which is a member of the Commonwealth.
“It has been brutal. I saw almost complete devastation,” Skerrit said, recounting his impressions after making several flights over the territory. “We have no water, no electricity, very limited communications.”
“The main hospital is functioning without electricity. It is very difficult. There are no generators, they have been set aside because of the flooding,” the prime minister said.
Authorities in Guadeloupe said that two people died there from the effects of Maria, while unconfirmed media reports put the storm death toll in Puerto Rico at six.