Dominica is an island in the caribbean with a population of slightly over 73,000 and Hurricane Maria has devastated it with wind speeds of 160mph. The island is known as the 'Island of 365 rivers' because of the innumerable bodies of water that flow down the mountains which have given rise to possibilities of mudslides. Mudslides could add to the death toll which is still not known. Essential services like telephone, internet, and electricity have taken a severe beating so the correct picture will only emerge later.

Extent of damage

Daily Mail UK reports that Hurricane Maria has destroyed the house of Prime Minister Roosevelt Skerrit, and he and his family were rescued and shifted to a safe location.

Hartley Henry, an adviser to the Prime Minister, has confirmed the large-scale loss of houses and public buildings.

Dominica, known as the Caribbean paradise, is now in shambles with houses in ruins, gas stations destroyed and streets littered with debris. The force of the wind stripped the trees in the forests of leaves. The hospital is affected and medical care is suffering while roofs of shelter homes have flown away to add to the miseries of the people. Residents are also worried about prowlers and thieves who are believed to be armed and are out to make a fast buck.

The present scenario

Dominica faced the brunt of Hurricane Maria and is among the worst affected in the Caribbean Islands. Prime Minister Roosevelt Skerrit has indicated that the death toll could rise because of incessant rains that could trigger mudslides.

An assessment of the extent of devastation will only be known when the authorities conduct an aerial survey and more details become available.

The unnatural pattern of weather that gives rise to disasters like hurricanes is on the increase and the matter must be examined with an open mind. Weather is an unpredictable entity and depends a great deal on surroundings.

Therefore it is necessary to consider whether climate change contributes to disasters like hurricanes.

In the opinion of scientists, glaciers are melting due to global warming which is resulting in a sea level rise with fears of flooding in coastal regions. When this is coupled with destruction of the environment due to loss of green cover, it becomes a recipe for disaster.

Harvey, Irma, and Maria striking in quick succession have sent across a message that cannot be ignored. There are different schools of thought on issues like global warming, climate change and degradation of the environment but, these are interlinked. Each of them is equally important to ensure a healthy future for mankind.