On Monday morning, ahead of Hurricane Maria’s descent upon the Caribbean country of Dominica, Prime Minister Roosevelt Skerrit took to Facebook Live for a press briefing on hurricane preparations. Skerrit asked Dominica’s citizens to focus less on supply stockpiling and more on securing property for damage and reaching out to people who could be vulnerable or exposed to the storm’s forces.
“We should treat the approaching hurricane very seriously,” Skerrit said. “Take no chances.”
Nine hours later, Skerrit updated his Facebook with a status that could only convey the worst for the country’s islands.
“The winds are merciless! We shall survive by the grace of God!” he wrote.
Nearly 20 minutes later, Skerrit updated his followers, writing about the anticipated destruction and hope for the hurricane’s end. Over the course of the hour, he shared additional concerning messages, writing that his home, like many anticipated across the country, had its roof ripped from the foundation, with water flooding the house.
Within minutes of the post on the decimation of his home, Skerrit was thankfully rescued. Hours later, around 1:30a.m. local time, Skerrit’s short-form updates resulted in a larger address on the physical damage and mental anguish suffered at the hands of the storm. In his latest Facebook post to date, Skerrit called upon the help of other nations and organizations for their services.
“I am honestly not preoccupied with physical damage at this time, because it is devastating…indeed, mind boggling. My focus now is in rescuing the trapped and securing medical assistance for the injured,” Skerrit wrote.
According to Australia’s ABC News, those in the Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico are still preparing for Maria’s landfall in less than two days. Should the storm remain at the Category 4 status it’s weakened to, Maria could be the most powerful hurricane to pass through Puerto Rico in 85 years.
Ricardo Rossello, Puerto Rico’s governor, also took to social media to help empower the country’s citizens.
“Our team has only one mission in these next hours. To prepare and to save lives,” Rossello tweeted. “The priority of all Puerto Ricans in these moments is to stay safe. We urge common sense, solidarity, and respect.”