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EIU Comes Together for Dominica

 The EIU Community Comes Together for Dominica

Dominica, a Caribbean island country, was devastated by a recent category five hurricane (Hurricane Maria) on September 18, 2017.  The country, popular for its beautiful green landscapes, rain forests, and tropical fruits, was stripped by the storm, sparing nothing and leaving rubble.  Citizens reported disbelief after the natural disaster due to the indiscriminate destruction. One of the major concerns was the loss of coconut palms, as losing these allows vulnerability to the hot sun, which is alarming due to lack of electricity and running water.  Because of the catastrophe and chaos, Dominica had to organize a nationwide curfew to permit assessments and evaluate overall damage. 

Dr. Catherine Polydore, associate professor in the Department of Counseling and Student Development, is a native of the country of Dominica.  After the island experienced the effects Hurricane Maria, Polydore was compelled to organize a relief drive to send goods to Dominica. Members of the community and EIU partnered with Polydore to send items to citizens in need of food, water, and health supplies. 

Polydore reported to the local newspaper (the Mattoon-Charleston Journal-Gazette Times-Courier) that tropical storms and hurricanes are the norm when living in Dominica. She recalls surviving a storm similar to Hurricane Maria in 1979. “We did it in ‘79 with Hurricane David and we will do it again,” Polydore said. “We will recover again. It will just be a different kind of recovery.”