Reunited—and it feels so good!

Evacuees from Petite Savanne at the Dominica Grammar School
Evacuees from Petite Savanne at the Dominica Grammar School

There were sounds of happy laughter and then there were those of tears as relatives and friends were reunited for the first time following Tropical Storm Erika’s devastation of the once buzzing community of Petite Savanne, well-known for its production of bay oils and local rums.

Tears spilled freely down cheeks from puffy eyes and the embraces and kisses seemed to go on forever.

Dominica News Online (DNO) caught up with two reunited families– the Antoines and Stoutes– at the Dominica Grammar School (DGS) grounds on Monday August 31.

They had made a journey to Roseau by sea just moments before from the place they once called home, carrying only their most cherished possessions.

Bertillia Antoine of Petite Savanne told DNO that she lost “many loved ones,” including her brother and in-laws, and leaving her home was “very difficult.”

“But we had to…we didn’t have a choice and to see that another storm is coming, you can’t stay there,” she said.

She vividly recalled the night of Tropical Storm Erika.

“It was just raining a lot, a lot of lightning and thunder—normal. To me, it wasn’t even raining that heavy and next day things just start happening.”

She stated that about 9am on Friday, landslides began coming down and the village began caving in.

Antoine’s husband, Bartholomew, said he lost 12 loved ones in the storm including two sisters, two brothers and brothers-in-law, sisters-in-law, nephews, and nieces.

“It’s just a sad thing. It’s just sad; I can’t understand,” he said sadly.

He noted that villagers had to go through landslides to get to the seaside. When they arrived there, those who were able took a small fishing boat to get to the coast guard vessel, but those who were not able to, were hoisted away by helicopter.

When they arrived on the Police base, in Fond Cole, a bus took them to the DGS for registration. Those who could be housed at relatives met them there and left with them. Those who could not were logged in, given some food and accommodated at the temporary shelter.

He said it was a “struggle” for the evacuees to bring their vulnerable within their midst to the shore. Asked what happened to his home and how badly damaged it was, he replied that there were a few landslides in close proximity to his property, but the house itself is still intact.

He admitted that it was “very, very, hard,” to leave his home, “because seeing that you are coming to a place you don’t even know about, we just have to start all over again.”

Originally from the Kalinago Territory, Benedict Stoute, told DNO that she was asleep when the storm hit Petit Savanne, “So when I wake up there were a lot of slides in the place.”

According to her, there was only one small landslide at the back of her house, “But I still say I’m not staying there; I want to go,” she explained.

She said all members of her family of three are alive and well and no relative of hers died in the tragedy.

“Well, everybody leave we; the government take out everybody there, there clean, clean, clean; houses alone that remain and landslides.”

When asked about her plans, she said she might return to the Kalinago territory.

The Antoines, at the moment are staying with family members in the city.

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  1. augustina
    September 2, 2015

    Please work together as a people who has brains and common sense.mhm We are to intelligent to wk against each othet. The devil is laughing at us and trying to destroy us. I love. You my fellow dominicans.

  2. The Real Facts
    September 1, 2015

    He admitted that it was “very, very, hard,” to leave his home, “because seeing that you are coming to a place you don’t even know about, we just have to start all over again.”

    He made me laugh. :lol: Fellow D/can, you are in Dominica; have not yet left it. :lol: Anyway, I understand how he felt, leaving his comfortable home to travel to Roseau. It was not an easy decision but for their safety. For him, this was a long trip to unfamiliar surroundings. :lol:
    God is good. All will be well.
    I am pleased to know they are in a comfortable area. They will not have the anxiety of wondering if there will be other landslides. This would be a cause for concern and they would not be able to as much as have a peaceful night to sleep well.
    God bless them all. May one day their life be restored to some degree of normalcy and comfort.
    I feel saddened for those who did not survive. However, our loving God knows best. May their souls rest in peace. Amen!

  3. an
    September 1, 2015

    I’m wondering if there’s an electronic log of the people who were evacuated and where they were place example hospital, with family, Grammar school etc and the specific dates. I can only imagine families may have been separated during the incident and evacuation and may not be aware of where their relatives, neighbours or friends were placed.

  4. Catarina
    September 1, 2015

    My God Dubique is a dangerous place to call home even in good weather! It’s not just now they have asked people to abandoned there.

  5. September 1, 2015

    This is so sad to read

  6. Dominica in New York
    September 1, 2015

    My heart aches for all. I survived hurricaine David in 1979 so I know from experience. I am sitting her in my office in New York with tears in my eyes. We have not forgotten home. Working on relief for Dominica.

  7. Just my two cents
    September 1, 2015

    Janie, I never thought i’d be so happy and relieved to see you alive. God bless.

  8. peaches & herb
    September 1, 2015

    Bc they understood

    September 1, 2015

    thanks God you all made it

  10. grell
    September 1, 2015

    You all will not be forgotten,Dno please share more of these stories,so we in the diaspora can make sure our brothers and sisters can assist them.God took many away from us but he is in control,and we will rise again.

  11. Smile
    September 1, 2015

    Smile and God bless them all!!!!!

  12. Independent
    September 1, 2015

    I pray for our Prime Minister, Government, Opposition and people of Dominica. I thank God for sparing Dominica from a worse fate. I pray for a humble and prayerful nation that will return to our Great God Almighty, Alpha and Omega. I pray for forgiveness from sin and cleansing from all unrighteousness. I pray that the love of God would touch our hearts and make us more humane and caring. I pray that people will remain sane, sober, watchful and grateful. I pray that Dominicans would love God and his or her fellowman, the two commandments given by Jesus. I pray that Dominica would become a nation of people who please God and seek after Him. He is our creator to whom all glory and honor is due. Let us thank Him for His grace and his mercy. Let us thank Him. Let us become a nation after God.

  13. Cyrique
    September 1, 2015

    Fabulous news. God is good as our prayers were answered. God bless Dominica.

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