Tiny Dominica calls for help after Hurricane Maria


According to the newspaper El Vocero, Public Safety Secretary Hector Pesquera said a drain that normally releases a stream of water from the dam in a controlled fashion had broken.

Meanwhile, the increased death toll includes at least 15 in Puerto Rico too, eight of whom drowned in the town of Toa Baja, where more than 4,000 people have been rescued as a result of the flooding. Rescuers raced against time to reach trapped residents.

"It is my hope that we do not have any more deaths".

Rossello told CNN the island is lacking communications and the preliminary assessment at this point is 13 fatalities. "Our efforts have already produced nearly 700 rescues so we're clearly focused on that".

"Every single person has been affected by this hurricane and therefore, it is a message to all of us that we have to work together to rebuild our country", he added.

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"We have done that assessment and there are a number of nations involved in the response for it", he said, adding that Maria has nearly "completely destroyed their agricultural sector". "Of course it's still raining over here".

Category 5 Hurricane Maria landed Dominica on Monday evening with a speed at 260 kms a hour. His preoccupation at that time, he said, was with people in more vulnerable communities, because he knew if his roof was gone, it would be worse elsewhere. Some were returning home after several days away, to clear the heavy mud left by the floodwaters from their homes and start the process of rebuilding.

Joaquin Rebollo, a 69-year-old steelworker who lives in the capital San Juan, said: "It's like we're in Venice. Farmers recount to me they were at their homes, their roofs went, they went to shelter somewhere else and that roof also went, so there was very little escape", Skerrit said.

Toppled trees, street signs and power cables were strewn across roads that were also littered with debris. Our main hospital is with no electricity now.

On Tuesday the executive director of the Barbados based Caribbean Disaster Emergency Management Agency (CDEMA) Ronald Jackson said that based on historical knowledge of Dominica and the fact that the eye of storm swept across the island from southeast to northwest, there would be "billions of dollars" in damage, with virtually every one of the estimated 70,000 population directly or indirectly impacted.