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Crowdfunder for Dominica

EFFORTS: Ras Albert Williams, left, and son Isaiah, who was missing in the hurricane aftermath

A FATHER from West Sussex whose son was missing during Hurricane Maria has launched a crowdfunding campaign to raise funds for Dominica.

Ras Albert Williams, of Crawley, hopes to raise £200, 000 to help rebuild the hurricane-stricken island, after it was left devastated by the category-five hurricane on September 18th.

With the money, he has already raised Williams has purchased tins of milk and other emergency supplies which was bought to The Dominica High Commission in London which was shipped out on September 26th.

He said: “Nothing feels better than to help those in need. As a Dominican in the diaspora I had to do something.”

Williams launched the campaign after Maria hit the island, despite not knowing if his own son, Isaiah Williams, 31, who lives in Kingshill, Roseau was safe.

He said: “After Hurricane Irma I kept a close eye on the weather and that’s when I realised the mother of all storms was right behind and heading for Dominica.”

“I managed to call my son Sunday and Maria hit the island on Monday night. It was an agonising wait before I heard from Isaiah again.”

Many Dominicans living the UK have expressed their frustration about the lack of news about relief effort and survivors. This is something Williams also shares.

He said: “There was little news on the mainstream news stations and that was hard, so I kept checking his Facebook profile for an update but there was nothing. I tried to remain positive and decided to set up the crowdfunding initiative which helped change my mood and gave me purpose during those uncertain days.

“As the days passed I checked Dominican websites and internet radio stations for updates but they were all down which added to the frustration.

He said: “I had to wait a whole week before I heard from my son. When I spoke to him he didn’t say much except the house he was in was completed destroyed.” He has now registered Isaiah with the Foreign Office and hopes he will be able to join him in England.

Williams was in Dominica in 1979 when Hurricane David battered the island. He recalls: “There is nothing more terrifying than experiencing a hurricane. The howling of the wind, the constant heavy rain and there is an unusual smell of death that occurs afterwards.

“The greatest challenge will be the rebuilding of all the Caribbean islands, aid will help but this will be a long process. It is a humanitarian crisis, we need to help because people have lost everything.”

Hurricane Maria was Dominica’s first category five storm in recorded history and will take years to recover.

To donate to Ras Albert Williams Jus Giving Page go to https://www.justgiving.com/crowdfunding/dominice-hurricanemaria-relief

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