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Maria, the 13th named hurricane of the 2017 Atlantic Hurricane Season, became a category 5 hurricane near the Leeward Islands on September 18, 2017. Hurricane Maria landed in Dominica at approximately 9:35 pm as an extremely strong hurricane with wind speeds of 155 mph. The impact of Hurricane Maria created an extremely vulnerable situation for the most vulnerable segments of the population, especially for children and adolescents.

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Hurricane Maria has added severe humanitarian consequences, taking at least 38 lives in its devastating path, and increasing the number of children and families with immediate need of support.

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UNICEF estimates that 39,000 children are in need of immediate assistance in the Eastern Caribbean islands, with 20,000 of them affected in Dominica. UNICEF’s emergency supplies are being rapidly distributed in coordination with national authorities and UN partner agencies in the most affected communities.

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UNICEF's priorities in Dominica include providing safe drinking water to affected families, as well as providing psychosocial support to affected children and their families, and to restore education through the rehabilitation of schools and the establishment of child-friendly centres.

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UNICEF is providing water tanks to a large percentage of its over 1,500 residents. There is plenty of water from the river but residents are fearful of drinking or bathing in it for fear of contamination.

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Jacey Anselm hugs her pet Sassy close to her. Sassy was always precious, but since Hurricane Maria tore their home apart more than a week ago, the nine-year-old and her mum Celine Fingall have precious else left.

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UNICEF Communication Specialist Patrick Knight talks with Celine Fingall (Jacey’s mom), in Loubiere, about 15 minutes’ drive from Roseau, capital of Dominica. “I don’t even know where to begin to clean up. It makes no sense while the roof is off. You start to clean up now and the rain comes and soaks everything again.”