The Prince of Wales has praised the “resilience” of the people of Dominica as he saw for himself the damage wreaked to the Caribbean island by Hurricane Maria.
Charles stood among the ruins of Pichelin village, which was battered by torrential flooding and high winds in September, and sympathised with the residents who have remained.
With a mangled car behind him, the heir to the throne chatted to locals stood in front of the village general store whose front was swept away by the deluge that brought whole trees, huge boulders and other debris down from hill tops.
Marilyn Leatham, 53, from a neighbouring village, said: “The Prince told me ‘you’re resilient people – hold on’. It means the world to us to have him here and it means the world is thinking of us.
“And the Prince makes us feel proud as people – we will bounce back.”
Charles, with International Development Secretary Penny Mordaunt, walked through the village shaking the hands of locals and stopping to chat briefly and even watched a dance performance by local school children.
Khalin Thomas, 26, whose grandmother’s general store was washed away, said: “We managed to survive the hurricane somehow, the village is between two rivers – but luckily we’re still here.
“The car next to my grandmother’s store was across the street and the water just picked it up and tossed across the street.”
Dominica’s prime minister Roosevelt Skerrit joined the prince for the visit.
Speaking last week at Cop 23, the UN’s climate change talks, he said about the natural disaster: ”When dawn broke, the scenes of utter devastation across this once lush green island were heartbreaking.”
He told delegates at the global summit in Bonn, Germany: ”In some areas where houses once stood there lay mounds of dirt and debris, others had their roofs blown off, landslides scarred the landscape, trees were uprooted or laid bare and flood waters raged.
“All utilities were non-functional.”
Mr Skerrit added: ”Two months later 95% of the country remains without electricity, our water systems are compromised, and many citizens remain displaced and in shelters.”