Dominica Prime Minister Roosevelt Skerrit on Tuesday said the country has lost “all what money can buy” even as Hurricane Maria was downgraded to a Category 4 storm, The Guardian reported.
The hurricane had on Monday made landfall in Dominica in the Caribbean, Reuters reported. It is likely to hit the United States Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico.
Earlier on Tuesday, the US National Hurricane Center had upgraded Maria to a Category 5 hurricane after its winds reached the speed of 160 kmph, making it the strongest storm to ever make landfall in Dominica.
Skerrit had earlier urged people to evacuate hours before the hurricane hit. “The next few hours should be placed on cleaning up around the house and on your properties rather than stockpiling weeks of foods and other supplies,” he said according to CNN. “This is not a system that will linger very long. Therefore, the goal must not be on stockpiling supplies but on mitigating damage caused by flying objects.”
The NHC said that the hurricane would reach Puerto Rico by Wednesday. Puerto Rico governor Ricardo Rossello has declared a state of emergency. The US territory opened shelters and began to dismantle construction cranes which could collapse as a result of the hurricane.
US Virgin Islands Governor Kenneth Mapp said Maria would pass within 16 km of St Croix, which has a population of 55,000 and escaped the wrath of Hurricane Irma. “Just remember this is a live animal,” Mapp warned residents of the Virgin Islands. He suggested that those who did not want to move into emergency shelters should climb into their bathtubs and pull a mattress over them to stay safe.