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Mrs Hill one year on still going strong

Still going strong

Hurricane Maria struck Dominica on 18 September, 2017, leaving a trail of devastation in its wake. 90% of buildings were destroyed or damaged, many were left without water and electricity and schools shut down. So how are people coping one year on?  Yvonne Hill Williams, is a 60-year-old grandmother and foster parent, who lives in the capital Roseau’s Bath Estate.    We asked her how she is doing now.

We are doing well, as well as can be expected. I’m taking it one day at a time. We have water but no electricity and we just use lamps: living without light for more than a year has been tough. My house is not yet covered, there is still no roof and we’re under tarpaulin.

When the Roseau River overflowed during the hurricane, it washed right into the house and we lost a whole lot like my sewing machine, TV, bath towels and pots and pans that we haven’t been able to replace. We were left with no roof, no water, no light, no money. I also had a little shop but the river took everything.  I have to start over again.

I have been a proud foster parent for 20 years and people say I have a big heart.  I love to look after children and I have several living with me at the moment. They keep me busy! Children are my life so I’m glad that they are coping with everything that has happened. They seem happy, glad to be going back at school, still playing by the river in the evenings…

The cash transfer gave us a bit extra*

The cash transfers, where I was given some payments, were really welcome as I could help the children by buying certain things they needed like shopping and groceries, giving us that little bit extra to stretch. It would have hurt my heart seeing them go hungry. I appreciated those payments very much and I wish we were still getting them every month! It made me feel that someone cared.

I am good and I have plans for the future; getting my shop back and looking after the children. At first I was depressed but things are looking up. Not for everyone though. I speak to a lot of people who say things are bad, things are hard, shopping is expensive, they are still living under tarpaulin. Some say they would like to leave Dominica.  But for me, life is a little better now. When I fix my house I’ll be able to put in lights and rewire. I can’t wait!

*Mrs Hill Williams was the beneficiary of an innovative cash transfer programme run by the Government of Dominica with support from UNICEF and the World Food Programme. It provided 8,300 of the most vulnerable families affected by the September 2017 hurricane with a cash payment for several months.



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