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Last Updated: Friday, 10 September, 2004, 18:00 GMT 19:00 UK
Eyewitness: Hurricane Ivan
Wreckage from Hurricane Ivan
Most Grenadians are still cut off from the outside world
Several days after Hurricane Ivan slammed into Grenada, accounts of the disaster by people who lived through it are just beginning to emerge.

Few have access to the outside world, because the storm brought down virtually all telephone lines.

One of the first visitors to the devastated island was Trinidadian leader Patrick Manning.

He described the scene, telling the BBC's Caribbean service: "When dogs interfere with garbage bags and strew the contents all over the place - that's what Grenada looks like.

"Galvanised sheeting spread over the land, no trees have leaves, many houses are gone... to see a building with a roof is a very rare sight."


Russ Fielden, who owns a hotel on the island, described what it was like in the midst of the tempest.

"It was absolutely terrifying. The winds were gusting over 150mph (240km/h) and just tearing off roofs," he told the BBC World Service's World Today programme.

"It lifted a container close to our house and rolled it over and over and, fortunately, it didn't hit the house but came very close to it.

I stared death in the face - what could be more scary than that?
Dawn Brown, housewife
"Trees were uprooted. There's not a single leaf on a tree, most of the boughs have gone off trees. But 90% of the houses on the island have no roofs and, out of that 90%, probably 50% of the homes have been totally destroyed.

"The hospital roof blew off, the stadium blew over and it's a big concrete stadium and it actually blew over, on the ground, flattened.

"The airport control tower fell over, so the infrastructure of the island has totally collapsed. There's no water in the pipes, there's no food, there's nowhere to cook the food, there's no electricity - and we're very fortunate to have this telephone line. We're not quite sure why it's working, but there it is."

Howling gales

Associated Press correspondent Ian James in the capital, St George's, painted a similar picture, reporting that house after house appeared shredded by whipping winds.

He said the bare trees gave a brownish tinge to hills strewn with debris.

A local resident, 30-year-old housewife Dawn Brown, related her frightening experience of Hurricane Ivan's destructive power.

She told AP that at the height of the storm, she and her children had run from room to room as the winds ripped off sections of their roof.

Finally, she said, there was no roof left and the family resorted to hiding under a mattress amid howling gales.

"I stared death in the face," she said. "What could be more scary than that?"

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