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In the aftermath of Hurricane Maria’s devastation of Dominica, Magnus Hansen visited the island and wrote this piece: “Hurricane-hit Dominica holds fast, for now.”
Four weeks ago, mountains turned to rivers and Mervin Henderson and his family lost everything. It was the night of his birthday, the 18th of September; the same night Hurricane Maria savaged the tiny Caribbean island nation of Dominica with wind speeds reaching 160 miles per hour.
Massive boulders, splintered electric poles, and upended trees clogged the huge drainage ravine above Henderson’s small town of Pointe Michel. The ravine eventually overflowed, sending a flood of debris roaring down the mountainside, destroying Henderson’s home along with many others. The room the Hendersons sought shelter in miraculously withstood the storm, while the rest of the home washed away brick by brick.
Once the rain and winds relented, the 49-year-old community leader and single father ventured out to assess the damage and search for neighbors missing in the mayhem. Henderson found landslides had buried much of the island’s southeast. Roads were gone or cut off so he helped paddle injured survivors on canoes along the coastline to the capital, Roseau.