Jacey Anselm hugs her pet Sassy close to her. Sassy was always precious, but since Hurricane Maria tore their home apart more 2 weeks ago, the nine-year-old Dominica girl and her mum, Celine Fingall, have precious else left.
“It’s about starting back. We have nothing now,” Celine says, as she points to the still rain-soaked furniture, clothes and other possessions in their second-floor apartment in the tight-knit community of Loubiere, about 15 minutes’ drive from the hurricane-scarred capital of Roseau.
“I don’t even know where to begin to clean up. It makes no sense while the roof is off. You start to clean up now and the rain comes and soaks everything again,” the mother of one adds.
After the severe impact of Hurricane Irma in the Caribbean region, Hurricane Maria has added severe humanitarian consequences, taking at least 38 lives in its devastating path, and increasing the number of children and families with immediate need of support.
UNICEF estimates that 39,000 children are in need of immediate assistance in the Eastern Caribbean islands, with 20,000 of them affected in Dominica. UNICEF Eastern Caribbean‘s emergency supplies are being rapidly distributed in coordination with national authorities and UN partner agencies in the most affected communities.
UNICEF‘s priorities in Dominica include providing safe drinking water to affected families, as well as providing psycho-social support to affected children and their families, and to restore education through the rehabilitation of schools and the establishment of child-friendly centres.