Nov. 23, 2004 A local organization of native Dominicans, Waseen Dominica Association, is rallying to raise funds to send relief to the island's residents who lost their homes after being rattled by a recent earthquake.
At about 7:42 a.m. Sunday, an earthquake measuring 6.0 on the Richter scale hit the island nation of 70,000 residents, destroying homes, churches and other property in the northern area.
Paul Alexander, president of Waseen Dominica Association on St. Thomas, said the second town of Portsmouth and the village of Vielle Case suffered the most damage. "Waseen Dominica" is the patois term for "Dominican roots." Patois, a dialect of broken French, is the second language of Dominica.
According to the Dominica News Web site, www.news-dominica.com, several villages on the eastern coast were also cut off due to roads blocked by landslides resulting from the earthquake and heavy rains. Food and other supplies had to be airlifted to these areas Tuesday.
"I spoke to several people in Dominica and was told all the people whose homes were destroyed do not have insurance," Alexander said. "They are seeking monetary assistance in this area."
He added that the residents are not seeking food or clothes. Alexander said after assessments have been made of the total amount of damages, his organization would begin a fund-raising campaign to help raise funds for individuals who lost their homes. He said those funds would not go towards the public buildings destroyed, but to help the individuals without insurance rebuild their homes.
About 150 homes were destroyed in Portsmouth and Vielle Case, Alexander said.
Alexander said just 36 active members belong to Waseen Dominica Association, but he said he is certain he will get support from the Dominican natives in the Virgin Islands community. About 5,000 Dominicans reside in the territory, Alexander said. Of that number 3,500 are registered voters and 2,000 are green card holders.
People who want to lend a hand can contact Alexander during the day at 776-3700 or at 777-4528 in the evening.
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