ERIKA’S ECHOES: Colihaut struggles to recover

A vehicle mangled by Erika
A vehicle mangled by Erika

To see is to believe!

When a young man from the village of Colihaut told DNO that there was a house sitting in the mouth of the river together with two cars on their hoods, it sounded incredible. But, as we approached the area behind the Colihaut Primary School, sure enough the house had come to rest upside down where the river met the sea.

Just beyond that, only the top halves of eight wheels were visible as a reminder that cars were lost to the sea. A two-storey concrete house left no such indication; it was nowhere in sight, lost forever to the ravaging waters that carried it several hundred feet until it was swallowed up by the sea.

On Thursday, August 27, 2015, when Tropical Storm Erika battered Dominica, houses located on the river’s banks in Colihaut were smack in the middle of the river bed, as the massive amount of water from the heavy rains had to find a way out and the only way was through homes.

Catherine Daniel, Parliamentary Representative for the Colihaut Constituency, which includes Dublanc and Bioche, was on the ground when DNO visited the community recently.

She recounted her experience when she first visited Colihaut two days after the storm.

“I came here for the first time on the Saturday after the storm because there was no communication either by phone or by road,” she said. “I came on a boat and was able to walk through the village and it was heart-wrenching. You could see a sense of helplessness, a little sense of hopelessness, a little sense of dejection. The people were working but they were looking at the massive damage. Roads were feet deep in silt, you couldn’t pass. Just rubble, rubble, rubble, rubble right down the road but they were still there, trying their best.”

Daniel said that, while it is still heart-wrenching, the village is being cleaned up and in many ways this is heart warming.

In terms of the outlook for recovery, Daniel had this to say: “We have to look at the damage and assess it and this is ongoing. The housing assessment teams were here on Wednesday in the three villages evaluating the needs. We also have to consider grief counsellors for the people because to get back on your feet in a situation like this is not easy. We have to see the children back on track in school. When some things can start, people will see a sense that we’re getting there, get a little hope and we’ll gradually get to where we want to be.”

Daniel commended the groups of young people who have come together to clear the drains and roads, to work on repairing the church and to mobilize equipment.

She also had high praise for the Village Council, the Disaster Preparedness Team and all those who came forward to assist with distribution of relief to children, the elderly and infirmed and the physically challenged.

Daniel urges everyone in Dominica to do some introspection and look at what can ben done to bring unity, love, peace and togetherness.

“One good thing is that the storm has shown us the need to show love and to care for each other,” she said.

See photos below from the community.


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  1. kenny
    September 9, 2015

    Thanks for saving my dad James Thomas a lesson for him bad weather stay home Kenny Queensland Australia working together…god bless

  2. September 9, 2015

    To the people of Colihaut, take heart. It will take time but you will breathe again. To my uncle Hayan, hope you weathered the storm. I’m not able to contact you since you’ve changed your #. I wish the whole village well, you are in my prayers, and Almighty God has this in HIS control

  3. dominica new york
    September 9, 2015

    y every thing is a politics for one stop with that politics

  4. September 9, 2015

    Colians hold tight. Review your lives and put the most important things first. Those of us who are called by His name need to reflect on our lives. He said ,if the peoole who are called by my name will repent and confess their sins I will hear ……….
    This is a warning . Take need.

    It is sad to see all this damage but we survive David and we can survive this one.

    Ms Daniel this is for you.Why haven’t the PM call a state of emergency?

  5. Just Me
    September 9, 2015

    Hello Ms. Daniel

    Are you the same person who initially reported that Coilhaut was fine? And what on earth possessed you to go to Colihaut decked out in your Labour Ka Tavay outfit?

    I am pleased to not your observation “One good thing is that the storm has shown us the need to show love and to care for each other,”. I only hope that these are not mere words, words that you believe we need to hear now.

    • The Real Facts
      September 9, 2015

      I expect you will never forget her words, practice it and live by it.
      The storm was not without reason. May all pay heed.

  6. September 9, 2015

    our heart felt sympathies goes out to all those who lost their lives and was impacted in any way. we feel your pain, but with time and the massive call for unity, love and understanding also tolerence we shall rise again. there`s a reason for all season, even this diaster, horrible as it clearly is will shed light to all of us as to what is most important in our lives. Having said that, quite frankly. without prentending or acting as a prophet, The vibes in Dominica as it lelates to how we were treating each other, our attitude towards each other and all the none ire things that was happening, sadly God had to make a call to us and let us realized he is the one in control of all things, therefore what he distroyed in a few hours he will build back bigger, better, stronger in due time, and we must never forget, cause God never sleeps..

    • The Real Facts
      September 9, 2015

      God sends warnings and lessons to be learned. I hope those concerned will not revert to their old self, when the dust gets settled, so-to-speak. lest a worst one comes.
      Keep reminding everyone about it: “We’ve got to love one another” and live peacefully and in harmony. This will please the Lord most.
      Let there be love and peace on earth – in Dominica and let it begin with me, with us.

  7. jodi
    September 9, 2015

    My mother’s village but Erika will and can never erase the wonderful and happy memories I have of summer vacations I spent there as a kid!!

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