Early reports suggested that the neighboring islands of Guadeloupe and Martinique had not been as badly hit as Dominica, though at least one person was killed on Guadeloupe, by a falling tree, officials in the French overseas territory reported. Officials in Guadeloupe also said that two people were reported missing after their boat sank off the island of Désirade, part of the territory’s archipelago.
Guadeloupe residents were struck less by the power of the slow-moving storm than how long it lingered.
“We spent the whole night holding a door that was shaking,” said Colette Cyrille, 52. “We tried to put beds, tables, wood, anything to keep it shut. I haven’t slept all night.”
Guadeloupe has been a staging ground for the regional aid response to Hurricane Irma, which battered the Caribbean two weeks ago. It has also been a refuge for people from St. Martin, an island hit hard by Hurricane Irma. So the arrival of Maria could compound the difficulties involved in recovering from the disasters.
The territory’s prefect urged civilians to remain in their homes and shelters to allow emergency crews to clear the streets of fallen power cables and debris, and said the military would be deployed to help the police maintain order.
The French island of Martinique, to the south of Dominica, suffered limited damage, French government officials said. Two people reported minor injuries, two localities lost water service and between 25,000 and 33,000 households lost power.