VCU student from Dominica worries for family after Hurricane Maria blows through

RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — All eyes are on Hurricane Maria, which is gaining strength as it moves north and west.

The hurricane killed 15 people in the Caribbean Island of Dominica as a Category 5 storm.

Tonight, a woman who lives in Richmond says she is concerned about her relatives who are still there.

Soraya Dubois says the island is small, with a population of about 73,000 people.

With Hurricane Maria destroying the island’s power and communication systems, she is holding out hope that her loved ones are doing o.k.

“I have family all over the Caribbean and it’s just hard keeping up with all the stuff going on,” Dubois said. “It’s like hurricane after hurricane after hurricane. It’s been really bad.”

Dubois stays attached to her phone, browsing photos, documenting destruction to her home country of Dominica.

Hurricane Maria crippled the Caribbean Island as a Category 5 storm, tearing the roof off of homes and causing food and water shortages.

Dubois says this view of Dominica shows a broken image of the land she’s used to.

“Everything is awesome about it!” she said. “Waterfalls, rivers, lakes, the mountains. I live in the country, so it’s just beautiful.”

Most of her family members are still here, including her sister. She hasn’t heard from her family since the storm hit.

“You try to mentally prepare yourself for it, but you just can’t be enough, prepared enough for that,” Dubois said.

Soraya is a senior at VCU. She says it’s not easy juggling her studies in Virginia while also worrying about her family’s well-being in Dominica.

“It’s very emotional,” Dubois said. “I’ve broken down about it.”

It may take a while for recovery efforts, but Soraya says residents in Dominica remain resilient.

“We’ve been through a lot of stuff, hurricane-wise, but this is definitely the strongest one and we have to get through it together because we never experienced this type of damage before,” she said.

Soraya also has a father who lives in Antigua. He just encountered Hurricane Irma. She says most of her family members are still shaken up by what happened.

Soraya says her family and other victims of Hurricane Maria are in need of tarps for shelter as well as water and food.

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