Portsmouth, Dominica’s second-largest town, which has a population of almost 3,000 people, is understood to have sustained serious damage. There are no cars on the roads, which have been rendered impassable by debris, and locals are relying on bicycles to seek help.

The capital, Rouseau, which has a population of 16,500, has also been hit hard by the winds. The residence of the Prime Minister, which was destroyed in the early stages of the storm, is located on the northern outskirts of the capital, where the hospital has been torn apart, depriving locals of medical assistance.

Kat Fin, a Dominican currently in the United States, tweeted: ‘Our house withstood every hurricane since 1976 no problem. Hurricane Maria took it down.

‘Trees were driven into walls like battering rams, leaving gaping holes,’ she added.

‘The roof was being pounded by flying boulders and the rain was gushing through hurricane louvres. The wind raging though the house had twisted furniture flying.’

A source involved in the aid operation from Barbados told MailOnline that six deaths have been confirmed on Dominica so far and the two worst affected areas are understood to be Marigot – a village near the island’s main airport – and the capital, Roseau.

The Caribbean Disaster Emergency Management Committee (CODEMA) said that the first aid helicopter landed in Dominica on Tuesday afternoon, after an unsuccessful attempt earlier in the day.

The warning came after Dominica Prime Minister Roosevelt Skerrit sent out a series of dramatic posts on his Facebook page as the storm blew over that tiny country late Monday – but then stopped suddenly as phone and internet connections with the country were cut.

‘The winds are merciless! We shall survive by the grace of God,’ Skerrit wrote before communications went down.

A few minutes later, he messaged he could hear the sound of galvanized steel roofing tearing off houses on the small rugged island. He said that even his own roof had blown away.

In the last message before falling silent, he appealed for international aid: ‘We will need help, my friends, we will need help of all kinds.’

The storm knocked out communications for the entire country, leaving anyone outside Dominica struggling to determine the extent of damage, though it was clearly widespread. ‘The situation is really grave,’ Consul General Barbara Dailey said in a telephone interview from New York.

The Daily Mail

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