WESTMINSTER, Colo. — DigitalGlobe released high-resolution satellite images Friday of Dominica that show the damage caused by Hurricane Maria.
The images show widespread structural damage and deforestation in Roseau and Canefield. Other towns in Dominica were affected in the same way.
The company’s images after disasters help with emergency response.
Dominica was Hurricane Maria’s first victim, and it was clear from a flight over the island nation that the storm showed no mercy.
At least 15 people are dead after the hurricane barreled through the island, Prime Minister Roosevelt Skerrit said.
“The damage is extensive,” Skerrit said Thursday. “It is really devastating in many communities. Our agriculture sector is 100 percent destroyed. Our tourism is, I would say, about 95 percent destroyed.”
There was widespread destruction in the capital of Roseau. Many buildings were damaged, cars and boats were overturned, bridges were clogged with huge tree trucks and many roads were impassable.
People were bathing in muddy river water or under burst water pipes. There is no running water and no electricity other than a few generators. Sherrit said aid has yet to arrive in any meaningful way.
This Caribbean island of 73,000 residents is — or was — a place of lush greenery, punctuated by waterfalls and rain forests.
But nearly two days after Maria made landfall, an aerial survey showed that nearly every tree was touched — thousands snapped and strewn across the landscape — and the island was stripped of vegetation.
The rain forests appear to have vanished.
Communities also paid heavily, with roofs torn away, entire homes ripped open and debris littering the land like confetti.
The breadth of the destruction is staggering — intact or untouched homes hard to find amid the chaos.
Maria tore the roof off the prime minister’s residence. Skerrit is now “homeless” and is “bunking up in an area called St. Aroment,” Jong said.
Communications towers on hilltops have been snapped in two, explaining why gathering information from the island has been so difficult.
Dominica is mountainous and before Maria’s arrival there had been concerns about landslides.
The usually blue green seas in many places are now a muddy brown from the earth swept down hillsides and into the water.
The island has an agriculture-based economy; sugar cane, banana plantations and citrus fruits are all grown here, and most of it is exported.
All of that appears at first glance to have vanished; the potential loss of those resources and income will be devastating for the island and its people.
The island was developing a tourism sector based on those rain forests. But, now, waterfalls stand out from a brown and stark backdrop, rather than green and towering trees.