BRADFORD’S Dominican community is setting up a disaster appeal to help rebuild the hurricane-hit Caribbean island.

More than 250 people turned up at a meeting held by the Dominica Association of Bradford at its Worthington Street base to hear how they could help.

Category 5 Hurricane Maria wiped out 98 per cent of the tiny island’s infrastructure last month, leaving many thousands of people homeless and in desperate need of aid.

The Bradford Association chairman Colum Sheridan-Small has warned its help will not bring about a quick fix and it could take between five to ten years before the long-term aid project is over.

Hurricanes Wilma, David and Irma have all previously left their own trail of destruction and the Dominica Association has responded in the past with aid including £20,000 to buy a minibus to help transport people from a homeless shelter to hospital for appointments.

After Hurricane Maria, the Association’s help is needed once again and the Bradford Dominican community is stepping up to the challenge, said Mr Sheridan-Small.

Almost all the roofs are missing from hospitals, houses, nursing homes, schools and government buildings. Lives have been lost and surviving islanders have been left in urgent need of food, water, shelter, and essential medical care.

Mr Sheridan-Small said Dominicans make up the majority of the Caribbean Community in Bradford and many have made it their home since the 1950s.

As well as collecting donations, members are also getting in touch with businesses, who might be able to assist with donations of goods including building materials or can help with shipping.

“With the generous support of businesses, the Dominica Association of Bradford will be able to help many of these families and individuals in the first instance to help re-establish their homes.

“This will help them to restore some form of normality not only to meet essential daily needs, but also to show that the world cares and help them see a brighter future than the devastation they currently face,” added Mr Sheridan-Small.

To get more information on what is on the donation wanted list or to find out how you can make a difference by supporting the appeal, go to facebook.com/Dominica-Association-of-Bradford-BD8-8ET-843802758979073/

People can also contact Gary Serrant, who is Dominica Association Relief fund Coordinator on 07884151588 or email DARelieffund@outlook.com

The Dominica Association of Bradford has its own donation list which includes cots, solar lanterns, portable stoves and energy biscuits.

Last month, the Telegraph & Argus reported how the British Government had pledged to give £5 million in UK aid to the island whose entire 70,000 population were almost all affected by the storm.

The Government is also doubling any UK public donations made to the British Red Cross’ Irma and Maria appeals. The pledge of UK aid came after the prime minister of Dominica formally requested international support to address the devastation,