University of Portsmouth team assists in relief effort for hurricane-ravaged Dominica

- Post-hurricane satellite images revealed up to 90 per cent of the Dominican Republic's buildings had been destroyed

A TEAM of university students and staff assisted in the rescue effort within days of the Caribbean island of Dominica being torn apart by hurricanes.

Using extensive knowledge of the island, a group made up of 60 University of Portsmouth staff and students, and residents, created up to the minute digital damage maps to help assist in the recovery.

The combined power of Hurricanes Maria and Irma led to the deaths of at least 30 people on the mountainous island.

Guided by lecturers and an expert from the Humanitarian Open Street Map team, volunteers took part in a ‘mapathon’ – in which detailed space satellite imagery was used to create maps showing the hurricane damage in the dozens of villages around the Dominican coast.

Last week, the team came together to spend a day mapping the damage, which were then sent off to rescuers on the ground in Dominica within seconds of quality control checks via the online street map system.

It was guided by Dr Richard Teeuw, leader of the crisis and disaster management at the university, who said: ‘Portsmouth in the UK has strong links with the Portsmouth in Dominica and our contacts have been updating us on the dramatic situation they are witnessing and their needs.

‘What started of as a natural disaster is developing into a humanitarian crisis and we decided to take action.’

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