Anxious relatives in Chorley have spoken of their ‘heartbreak’ as they await news of family in the hurricane-hit Caribbean.
Now they are urging local folk to support their appeal for vital donations as they do their bit thousands of miles away.
Chorley’s Julie Kirk is one of many people of Caribbean origin living in the UK, unable to make contact with relatives.
A former youth worker with Lancashire County Council, she was born in this country and attended Highfield Primary and Parklands High School, Chorley.
She has family in Marigot in north eastern Dominica, which is reportedly one of the worst hit areas, with 95 per cent of homes and building destroyed.
Together with the help of friends Marvel Magloire and Theo Matthew, from Clayton Brook, collections of non-perishable items have begun.
I’ve got family in Dominica. All the people listed on the appeal poster have got family. It’s really heartbreaking
Julie, 56, has an aunt, cousin and step brothers and sisters on Dominica, who she says are “unaccounted for”.
The Dominica Relief appeal is growing daily.
Dominica, a small island between Guadeloupe and Martinique, took the full brunt of category five Hurricane Maria in the early hours of last Monday morning, which claimed a number of lives.
It had already been affected by hurricane Irma and Jose, which also hit the area.
She said: “I’ve got family in Dominica. All the people listed on the appeal poster have got family. It’s really heartbreaking, there’s so much going on.
“News is trickling out but the main thing is they’ve got some power back on in the capital Roseau, and they’ve got some hand radios but they’re appealing for more, and satellite phones.
“All the lines are down. People are trying to filter information through. The radio station do a roll call.
“It’s devastating. I’ve been really, really upset but I just shake myself out if it and we’re doing our best getting it out to others.”
Julie said she had been in touch with Chorley MP Lindsay Hoyle, who has written to the Prime Minister and to Chorley councillor Hasina Khan who is helping. An Asian ladies’ group has raised £100.
Clayton Brook Community House has kindly agreed to be a ‘Donation Drop-Off point’. It is hoped a location in Chorley can also be found.
Clayton Brook Community House can be found at 61 Tunley Holme, Clayton Brook PR5 8ES. Telephone: 01772 698074.
Donations can be made there on Tuesday and Thursday 10am to 8pm. Wednesday 10am to 5pm and Friday 11am to 4.pm.
Donations will be stored at the Clayton Brook Community House prior to them being transported to the Seventh Day Adventist Church in Preston, where items will be packed and prepared for shipping.
Julie has also been in touch with the High Commission of Dominica in London who are keeping her informed about how and when relief will be transported.
Emergency necessities needed are: Bottled Water; building materials; short-term roofing material; blankets; communication equipment; dried goods such as rice, pasta, packet soup, tea bags, milk powder; tinned foods such as tuna, beans; toiletries including toothpaste, toothbrushes, soap, sanitary products; medical supplies such as bandages and hand Sanitiser; infant supplies like nappies, baby milk powder, blankets; Solar lanterns, flashlights, batteries, wind-up torches.
An official bank account has also been established for those who wish to donate cash. Barclays Bank, Account No 93992330, Sort Code 20-80-14, Reference: yournameDAHurricaneMaria, Account Name: Dominica Relief Fund.