By Caroline Haga, IFRC

When we see the kind of destruction that events like Hurricane Maria can leave behind, it's easy to not see the unique stories of the individuals who are impacted. From the ground in Dominica, Caroline Haga with the IFRC shares some of those stories.  

"We are surviving just a little bit" - Joan Barnes

“It was difficult and devastating, we could not sleep for a couple of days,” says Joan Barnes (48). She, her son Israel (28) and daughter Lady (20) and nine-month-old grand son Jerry had to run for cover when hurricane Maria struck their island of Dominica on 18 September.
 
Her wooden house is by some miracle still standing but the roof was ripped off by the strong winds. The family is trying to cope with the situation as best as they can.
 
“We are surviving just a little bit. The mattresses got wet because the roof went out, all our clothes got wet. We have no food, no water, no lights. We don’t know when the water is coming, we don’t know when we are getting lights, and it’s kind of devastating.”

"Let's rebuild, let's try to start to live again." - George Grell

“When I returned home after hurricane Maria, all I saw was the whole place in a mess. 
 
The TV, appliances, all the lose things got damaged and we had to throw them away. And I have no hard feelings about that. It’s not about us who got a little damage, it’s about the people who lost their lives. What is loosing a television when you think of that.
 
Let's rebuild, let's try to start to live again. We have life and strength. We have to come together, let's bring our country back.”

Determined to see Dominica flourish again - Abigail Guiste

The village of Layou, home to 90 families, was badly destroyed along with the rest of Dominica when hurricane Maria ravaged the country. For the past two weeks since the storm, Abigail Guiste (36) and her two-year-old son Amani have been staying with family as their own home was destroyed. Fourteen people share the tiny house - Abigail's siblings and their children, the children's grand mother Sylvane Charles (64) and a neighbor family. Despite losing everything they owned to the heavy rain and winds, they are slowly rebuilding their lives day by day determined to see Dominica flourish one day again.

In hard to reach communities - Bridgette Esprit

Bridgette Esprit lives in the village of Campbell located in a difficult to reach inland valley. Already susceptible to hazards such as flooding and mud slides, the tiny village with 400 residents was hit hard by hurricane Maria. The Dominica Red Cross and IFRC team was the first humanitarian aid provider to arrive there almost two weeks after the storm.
 
Bridgette Esprit weathered the hurricane at her farm house in another part of the island but made her way back to Campbell as soon as possible - spending hours walking over the hills to reach her home. With a three-month-old puppy named Buli to keep her smiling, Bridgette tries to come to grips with losing her whole crop including coffee, avocado, lime and banana.

Dominica Red Cross delivers aid

Hurricane Maria grew unexpectedly to an extremely strong category 5 hurricane in a day striking an unprepared Dominica with ferocious winds up to 155 mph. 98 per cent of all roofs across the island were damaged, most ripped off completely leaving the interiors of the houses soaking wet and everything destroyed.
 
As the country is prone to frequent tropical rains, materials to cover and fix the roofs are urgently needed. Dominica Red Cross has for the past few days been supporting residents in the capital Roseau by distributing hundreds of tarpaulins as temporary covers. As soon as possible, tarpaulins and comprehensive shelter kits including mosquito nets, blankets, jerry cans and other equipment will be distributed to other villages across the island.