The high of winning the 2015 Windward Islands Senior Male Cricket Tournament quickly slumped to a low for the Dominica National team as striking pictures emerged of the deadly impact of Tropical Storm Erika.The team, now stranded in Barbados, wants nothing more than to return home to be with family and friends to help wherever they can.
“It’s devastating,” team manager Geoffrey Pierre told Barbados TODAY.
“We are not quite sure how or when we are going back home to Dominica.”
The team, which left St Vincent and the Grenadines yesterday en route to Dominica, has been put up at the Barbados Beach Club compliments the Barbados Cricket Association (BCA).
Pierre admitted that while the team was grateful for the quick response and help from the BCA, being away from home when thousands are in need of urgent help is disheartening.
“Fortunately, my family is safe and most of the other members of the team which have contacted some family members have learnt that they are safe.”
Pierre described the trail of destruction as unbelievable, suggesting it would surpass the impact of Hurricane David, which struck Dominica 36 years ago on August 29, 1979.
“I remember David . . . it was probably the worst Hurricane. But when you see what has happened now, although there was no wind, there was just water, the level of devastation is a lot more now than there was in David.”
He said he feared that Dominica, known as the Nature Isle of the Caribbean, has suffered untold damage and it will take substantial resources and time to get back on its feet.
“This is going to set us back in some major way. I am not on the ground yet, but I can see that we have suffered a lot. I am thinking that damage is going to be around the billions.”
This makes Pierre and members of the team who were reluctant to speak, restless in their comfortable surroundings.
He said they were working on a plan which could see them returning via ferry rather than air, since the island’s two airports remain closed after suffering significant damage.
“We are trying to work with the local coast guard here to return to Dominica. We are hoping that we may able to get on a military ship. If not we may have to fly out to St. Lucia and get the Dominican coast guard to pick us up there.
“We are hoping that will happen this week. If not, then we hope that we can get out on Wednesday to St Lucia and get the ferry to Guadeloupe, Martinique and then on to Dominica. But that is five days away, we want to get home now.”
Pierre said the only silver lining in the grim circumstances was the support already pouring in from Caribbean countries.
“ A lot of people are willing to lend a hand. The Barbados Government is just on standby. Having been here, I have seen the warmth of Caribbean people and how quick the Barbadian people are ready to help and embrace us as one. The BCA was very, very helpful. It really says a lot.”
Looking ahead, Pierre acknowledged the rebuilding process would be long but he was confident that the strength of Dominicans would help the country emerge from the disaster even stronger.
“Dominicans are very resilient. Irrespective of what happens to Dominica, our spirit remains alive. In the weeks ahead you will see a lot of community spirit, people will get to work and work with one another to rebuild. That is the strength that Dominicans have; through disaster we have been able to bounce back. I think nature has built us that way. “Today Dominica may be flat, but tomorrow it will rise out of the ground.”