The interim Government was barely two months old when one of the three most destructive hurricanes ever know to hit Dominica, lashed its shores, stripped trees from its mountains and tore the fragile homes of its people apart. Only twice previously had such severe hurricanes struck the island In the 1806 hurricane 131 people died mainly as a result of the Roseau river shifting its course and flooding the capital, and in the 'Great Hurricane" 10 September 1834, widely acknowledged as the worst of all, over 200 live were lost.
At first expected to hit Barbados, the hurricane, code-named David, shot across the southern section of Dominica on 29 August 1979. There was little local radio warning and no operational systems for disaster preparedness. With swirling 150 mile-an-hour winds, David pounded Dominica for six hours from about 9.00 am. Thirty-seven people were killed and an estimated 5,000 injured, some requiring amputation of limbs. Three-quarters of the 75,000 population were left homeless with many others temporarily so, sleeping under rough cover in the open or huddled into the homes of more fortunate friends for weeks and months after the storm. cont./
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