PHOTOS: Remembering Hurricane David

View of Bath Estate after the hurricane
View of Bath Estate after the hurricane

It is a date that is etched in the minds of many Dominicans: August 29, 1979. It was the day Hurricane David struck Dominica.

34 years ago today Hurricane David, a Category 5 hurricane and one of the deadliest of the latter half of the 20th century, roared towards the island.

The island was totally unprepared as there was little local radio warning and no systems in place for disaster preparedness. Packing winds of 150 miles-per-hour the hurricane pounded Dominica for six hours from 9:00 am.

Thirty-seven people were killed and an estimated 5,000 were injured. Three-quarters of the population of 75,000 were left homeless. Many people slept in the open or huddled in homes of fortunate friends and neighbours for weeks or months to come.

See below for photos (mostly around Roseau) from that fateful day.

 

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42 Comments

  1. Mitch Lucke
    August 8, 2014

    I was a young sailor on board HMS FIFE we were 3 days from home when we were requested to return to help after being away for 3 month, not one crew member complained!
    The average age was 19( just boys).
    We were the first on the scene.and hit the land running.
    Are jobs were taking supplies and fresh water to relief points
    we re-built the Hospital as best we could and cleared roads.
    Some of us had to move bodies to the make shift morgue.
    To this day I have never seen destruction to match it,
    and often think of the people that had to endure David

    • Graham Bell
      October 27, 2016

      Hi Mitch I remember it too as I was also on the Fife it’s exactly as you say .
      I was a sparky and our first job was to get power and lighting to the hospital
      The place was devastated and being 19 myself It was frightening it was the
      First time I’d seen dead bodies and pregnant women screaming for me to help
      Them
      I visited Dominica 3 years ago and the people were wonderful and thankful for
      Our help I showed them photos and told the people who had not even been born
      About the carnage although they had already heard the stories
      We went to the forests that had being torn down by the hurricane we went up the
      Hillside on a cable car and the host said the area was razzed to the ground but it
      Had grown back since to over 20 meters (amazing)
      I actually came on this site for ideas for a tattoo as Dominica holds a place in my heart
      And I’ll never forget it

      Regards A/loem Graham Bell (Dinger)

  2. Hmmm
    August 30, 2013

    DNO Admin and Dr. Honeychurch – Fr. Jolly used to have about 3 albums of photos of Hurricane David up at the Catholic Center in Morne Bruce. I wonder if these are still there. I have viewed them many times when I attended sessions there.

  3. jade
    August 29, 2013

    Thirty-four years ago. I remember that day like it was yesterday but such bad memories. I was seven months pregnant with my first son and very far away from home. In fact I was in Castlebruce spending a week with a friend when David struck. The following day I walked from Castlebruce to Layou and there I got a ride to take me home. I was so sore for couple days. Thought the baby would come but thank God he made it to nine months. Never want to experience another storm like this.

  4. ange
    August 29, 2013

    The 8th pic is good will road that is fondcole hill :)

  5. John Paul
    August 29, 2013

    Ok So after all that Memory dont cuss me for what I am about to say “How prepared are You today?”

    • Justice and Truth
      August 31, 2013

      People are never prepared. We have the identical problem in Canada. We are always asked are we prepared for a summer or winter storm. We are also informed how to prepare. Yet we are never prepared. We take too much for granted. This is a trait of human beings.

  6. David
    August 29, 2013

    Thanks for the pictures DNO, so many unpleasant as well as fond memories. We became a resilient nation and we looked for each other, now some of us behave like crabs in a barrel, oh how we have forgotten. Memoire poole.

  7. David
    August 29, 2013

    2nd Pic from left is Great George St. where freedom party has its head quarters

    6th picture is Goodwill road junction of Federation Drive going towards EC Loblack Bridge.

    • DANZIGER
      August 29, 2013

      @David you so right thats Great George Street below where Jolly had his Pharmacy and the 6th is really the junction of federation drive. At the time I lived in the heart of town.

  8. Anonymous
    August 29, 2013

    i was 18 and 7 months pregnant ran in the wind for rescue at a neighbours home thank GOD we made it ,to GOD be the glory great things he has done

  9. Post
    August 29, 2013

    I was four and when I tell my mom things I remember about that time she just can’t believe. I remember where I was, were they took me and my sister when they thought our wooden house was not strong enough. We were kids so we weren’t affected too much…not like the adults. To this day that two bedroom wooden house is still standing. All David took from it was a window.

  10. DANZIGER
    August 29, 2013

    That night I sleep on a pachée bois cuz my matress was wet and I drank warm boil water. Roof gun no water, no light all gone . My first hurricane was david it was terrible I dont want to talk about HU DAVID any more there’s pain in my heart.

  11. kathrine Joseph
    August 29, 2013

    The pic of Bath Estate was taken from back road St Aroma

  12. me
    August 29, 2013

    so u all use pictures i sent in to u all and did not mention my name

  13. Massacre
    August 29, 2013

    Thanks DNO for these photos, they bring back so much memories, but they help me to be stronger seeing what I have been through and still be here today to write about it.
    My mom and dad have a lot of kids and all of us mad it, thanks to God.
    I think this was the worse disaster to hit any carribean Island, man made or natural.
    My hope is that Dominicans will use these memories to unite the country, for surviours are now of the years to do that.

  14. my word
    August 29, 2013

    I was only thirteen years old and i can remember it vividly. First time in my life I actually saw wind.It was not easy my family lost everything thank God our lives were spared.

  15. Well Well Well
    August 29, 2013

    I remember every second of that day and was scarred for life. I promised myself never to sleep under a galvanize roof during a hurricane. David took our entire roof and flung it clear across the hill on the other side of the ravine. We spent 3 grueling hours in the rain and cold until the eye passed over and we ran to safety. It was a nightmare for me until I experienced the earthquake a few years ago. I will take the hurricane because you know it is coming and you can prepare.

    Dominicans, please never let down your guard. Be prepared!

  16. August 29, 2013

    Yess I remember that day my moon get us ready she cook her food tie all her stiff in plastic bags water boil. And place in plastic bucket when the storm really hit I was lying on my be facing the wind a stick hid the wooden wall and almost pass in side and broke a big glass mirror I could feel the wind trying hard to move the. Roof I told daddy the roof will come out he said no the way the roof is build will stand the wind u could see the wind looking like steam out side
    Cocnut tress was flying like kite in the air I was frighten mom way praying I remember telling her something she said u don’t see I am praying. Thank god we were save . That was the time I saw more helicopters dropping food and medicine every where they can land

  17. Nacinimod
    August 29, 2013

    Thanks DNO for the pics. You would think an event like this was an opportunity to rebuild Roseau into a modern city. But alas, not much has changed after 34 years. Oops, sorry, we have a KFC now papa.

  18. Hmmm
    August 29, 2013

    Which end was the Bath Estate photo taken from? Was it from GOodwill end and looking towards Elmshall, or vice versa. It seems to make more sense to me that way.

  19. Hmmm
    August 29, 2013

    1st photo – Fort Young Hotel
    2nd – Adult Education building (to the left) opposite Agricultural place – four corners
    3rd – Anglican church opposite Fort Young
    4th – everytime I see this pic I am trying to figure out which part of Bath Estate and still can’t
    5th – Victoria Street (by Venezuelan Embassy) going towards New Town.

    Mr. Honeychurch, am I correct?

    • 2 CuTe
      August 29, 2013

      The pic of BathEstate i believe the person took that pic from Elmshall..so it gives you a wide view of everything

      • Hmmm
        August 29, 2013

        I don’t think so (I maybe wrongt), but bath estate would have had more houses, and closer together….If you look to the left, theres an open expanse of land (possibly the playing field) and behind that you can see the river. So definitely this was taken from GOodwill end

    • David
      August 29, 2013

      Hmmmm, the second picture is Great George Street, facing North towards what we call the West of New Bridge. The building on the left is the head office of Freedom Party. On the right when the building is shifted is where the New Jolly’s Pharmacy is now located.

  20. Righteous
    August 29, 2013

    I was 8 years old at the time, but that images are very vivid. I remember seeing all the boats that came ashore in Possie. I also remembered going up to the country a few days later and all the coconut trees, banana trees pehpeh(breadfruit) trees were laying all across the roads. And of course David Blow was a hit. Hundred and fifty mile an hour coming down de road, and he blow, David blow, he blow down whole Roseau.

  21. masters
    August 29, 2013

    i was too young to remember any of this but i have heard a lot about it.this date is also my aunty’s birthday.my grandmother said that my aunt woke up with the intention of making cake to celebrate her day but never made it outside.this is a day she will always remember.

  22. Observer
    August 29, 2013

    That day that day! Oh David! You were a real windy monster. I never, ever want to see another David. To all those who died RIP. to those who remember their love loved ones who passed, grace, mercy and peace to you. See how far we have come from in the intervening years. God is really good all the time.

  23. blessing in disguise
    August 29, 2013

    hurricane david was truly a disaster and what an experience..i actualy walk from Portsmouth to Roseau the next day with friends.i remember all I had left to wear was a pair of pajamas.it was a terrible experience..on the other hand it was the beginning of better things to come for me. I migrated 4 month later and have been living overseas since..been to my beloved dominica many times and it is dear to my heart.god bless dominica..weaping may endure for a night,but joy commeth in the morning

  24. Cool J
    August 29, 2013

    I just got chills looking at this. wow.

  25. somewhere in DA USA
    August 29, 2013

    Oh yes, I remembered that day like it was yesterday. I was eight years old and that experience will never be removed from my mind. Also, God protected Dominica, cause the outcome could have been much worse.

  26. '
    August 29, 2013

    wow..for true we there was togetherness after the huricane ..right now people fighting like pigs…who in big house cutting style on those in wooden house papa..after huricane davide there was real together..brogodow for so..we can do with another one though..let love reign..(jk) me i don’t want to see another at all no no..but the way the people moving like they shitting gold and fink they ain’t leaving this world i tell u jah might give us another one to mend our ways..

  27. ces sa mwem
    August 29, 2013

    tnk u father I was 12yrs old remembering just like today in the mist of the storm a building fell and remembering my daddy hold me and the only word I heard him say was (bondieu zanfanmoi morue) oh god my child die,but thank u father all of us was safe.TO GOD BE THE GLORY

  28. Bless
    August 29, 2013

    Oh how I remember being in Goodwill at age 8 years. Never forgot. Granny held us both and started praying. People were helping one another.

  29. kathrine Joseph
    August 29, 2013

    I was 10 yrs and it look like yesterday in my mind, I am praying not to ever see one like that, I was a victim of that day praise God am alive, and can tell everyone about that day. I am looking at the pics and can tell you all the part of this photo.

  30. John The Baptist
    August 29, 2013

    Yes I remember the day like it was a few hours ago. The devastation and chaos – unimaginable.

    That was 1979 and what we did as a people and the capable leadership of Dame Euginia to get dig ourselves out of this hole? Undeniable. We dug deep and made ourselves the Flagship of the OECS.
    the coastal roads were gone, interior roads severed – coconuts, bananas, citrus totally gone, hospitals, health centers ravaged, schools destroyed , 98% of the island was without electricity.
    I only wish that the historians particularly Doctor Honneychurch would insure that the truth remains particularly when liars and self serving politicians would like to create the perception that their leadership is Dominica’s slice bread.
    The same applies to all of us who know the truth. The truth is 8 years after hurricane David, 10 years after our Independence we were kicking A$$$ as a small nation. I will never forget the great Reunion year of 1988 – man were we a proud people.

    I must say this though – 14 years since Hurricane UWP and instead of leading the country out of the frying pan the Labor Party has placed us into the pit of fire.

  31. August 29, 2013

    Dominica has really come a long way. Thank God for his mercies a lot of lives were spared including mine since my mother was pregnant with me at that time. Thanks for the memory DNO.

  32. island girl
    August 29, 2013

    I was 10 years old but I remember that dreadful day as if it was yesterday.

  33. PRO
    August 29, 2013

    Those of us who live through hurricane David know where we were and now, we have come a long way. Our people were united, we shared, looked out for each other, we were one people eating in each other’s plates, sheltering at each other homes, going to find food because we were not prepared, Dominicans don’t get caught off guard. what a year this was. Thank God he speared our lives, through the last 34 years.

    • Post
      August 29, 2013

      Amen!!!! I remember one many dying in our area. A few cuts and scratches but everyone was fine and willing to help each other rebuild.

    • David
      August 29, 2013

      There was so much unity, we cared for each other and now its a total different environment. I washed in the Roseau river for myself and my landlady on several occasions. I carried baskets of plates and cooking utensils to the river to wash, my neighbor’s and mine. David united us and now we are so divided, its a shame.

  34. ZULU
    August 29, 2013

    Oh how i remember that day. Just kidding i was only 5 months old. Thanks for the pics DNO. I have heard countless stories but for the first time i am seeing pics. Is that Roseau. I must say we have come a long way.

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