Tropical Storm Erika has set the small island nation of Dominica "back 20 years," the country's Prime Minister Roosevelt Skerrit told the press during a televised address yesterday. Tearing through the Caribbean at the end of the week, the storm claimed the lives of at least 20 Dominican people and destroyed hundreds of homes and multiple other structures, reports The Weather Channel.
As Erika heads away from the island, at least 20 other Dominicans remain missing, approximately 80% of the island has been left without electricity, and the water supply has been cut off. Island officials, while understandably traumatized by the storm's devastation, remain determined to come together to help those in need. "I give you my pledge that we shall not cease until contact is made with every community and a full account is given of every single missing person," promised Skerrit.
On Friday, governments in San Juan, Puerto Rico, closed schools, airports, and even casinos for use as storm shelters; government offices and airports in the U.S. Virgin Islands also shut their doors in preparation for the storm.
As Erika heads towards the United States, it has thankfully been downgraded to a tropical rainstorm and is expected to bring "heavy rain and gusty winds" to southern and central Florida starting Sunday, says USA Today. Regardless, U.S. officials aren't taking any chances: Florida Governor Rick Scott declared a state of emergency yesterday and President Obama was reportedly briefed on the area's disaster preparations.
Our thoughts are with all those impacted by the storm. And to our friends in Florida: Stay safe and dry.
#prayfordominica This is serious ..Life is not promised Thank God right now if you haven't already today for waking you up this morning for letting you be safe being able to eat enjoy life the summer etc...you never no what someone else is going through...Plz pray for these beautiful people #pray #lovethyneighbor #flood #Donate #getthose peopleouttathere
The tropical storm #Erika hit the island of #Dominica earlier this week. There are massive floods, home demolished, families struggling and several deaths.Not many people know this island exists, however, we need the media to assist in getting the word out to help!!!!! #PrayForDominica #MyFamily @cbsnews