Prime Minister says Dominica needs “all the help the world can give”, left dazed

ST. JOHN’S , Antigua, Sep. 21, CMC – The Prime Minister of Dominica, Roosevelt Skerrit has issued an urgent appeal for the island, following the passage of Hurricane Maria earlier this week.

Skerrit in an emotional interview on ABS television on Thursday said the entire nation  has been impacted by the powerful storm and at least 15 people are dead and 20 others are missing .

“The entire east, the extreme south, the inner communities…the rain forest areas where the indigenous people reside…there are significant challenges,” he said.

2017-09-20-PHOTO-00000146Skerrit, who also lost the roof his home during the storm, said the “logistics of getting supplies will be critical” and he has authorised and approved a distribution strategy.

“The most immediate needs are tarpaulins, water,  and food supplies…..every village I’ve been to, they are in need of water and more water and baby supplies.”

However the Prime Minister said the resilience of Dominicans is evident even in the midst of crisis and the “community spirit is kicking in”.

“People are on the move, clearing the streets to create access to buildings. Some of them are still in shelters….. there are also many who have no place to sleep at night.”

Concerning telecommunications, the Prime Minister said experts from both Digicel and Flow have been working feverishly to restore services as there is limited cellular coverage.

Skerrit said the road to recovery will be a long one.

“It is going to be a very long a difficult journey, but I am confident that if we remain united as a people we can bounce back. It will take us sometime but as for myself I am completely committed to the country in doing what I can to  assist in raising the necessary finances and making contacts.

The Prime Minister said he will be travelling to New York on Friday to address the United Nations general Assembly.

Skerritii“I originally had no intentions of going …. But I will speak to the international community, to have meetings with UN Secretary General, to outline Dominica’s situation . So we will not leave any stone unturned. We have all been impacted and we can only make life better.”

In making reference to the health sector, the Prime Minister said patients in need of critical care at the hospital – that lost its roof, must be airlifted.

“The hospital is being run on an archaic system…..the dialysis machines are down, the ICU has been destroyed by the hurricane. That is one of our major concerns.Any country that can assist us with airlifting patients to Martinique. One patient who has to receive dialysis everyday walked over 21 miles and I met him at the hospital….another patient, if he doesn’t get airlifted, he will expire.”

Skerrit also pointed to the  need for access to resources to build more resilient countries.

“We have been playing our part but the extent of the resources required to put in the mitigation systems is beyond us…..”

In a message to  Dominicans in the Diaspora, Skerrit said the country needs them.

“If there has ever been a time that Dominica needed its people the most, it is now…..I am here to speak on behalf of the 72-thousand people who call Dominica home – everyone of us need you.”

Dominicans dazed by destruction of Hurricane Maria

By Peter Richards

ROSEAU, Dominica, Sept 21, CMC – Martin Dell is unapologetic when it comes to begging after Hurricane Maria.

“Man we need all the help we can. Man I have been crying for days, I have been looting food. I have no choice it is a hard time, not even water,” he told the Caribbean Media Corporation (CMC) Thursday as he and others watch as several people began looting a shop in the heart of the capital.

One other person, who did not want to be identified said that Hurricane Maria, which tore into the island as a Category 5 Storm on Monday night, has left behind, not only destroyed houses, broken bridges, uprooted trees, torn roofs, but also broken lives.

“Everything gone in Dominica I tell you. My house gone, everything go, my bank book, my car. My brother I have a child, a boy, I have to think about him,” he says, insisting that Dominica is “indeed broken”.

The hurricane tore into the island just as it was recovering from the ravages of Tropical Storm Erika that killed at least 30 people and left hundreds of millions of dollars in damages two years ago.

Maria 1
Storm damage in Roseau (CMC Photo)

From the air, the country looks like a total war zone. As the British Military helicopter hoovers over the capital on its way down to Windsor Park Stadium that was built a few years ago with tremendous funding from overseas donors, the magnitude of the damage become real.

The hills are no longer lush green, but brown and the trees that once bent gently in the afternoon breeze, are no more. Instead, tree stumps shoot out, as if begging for forgiveness. The authorities have not yet been able to make their way to other parts of the capital and on Thursday efforts were underway to try to get the road leading from the Douglas Charles airport to the capital, re-opened.

“The disaster is total,” said Caribbean Community (CARICOM) Secretary General, Irwin la Rocque, a Dominican, who was among several officials on board the helicopter coming to have a first hand view of the damage caused by Maria when it hit the islands with winds of over 180 miles per hour (mph).

“I have seen some other aerial pictures taken by the Regional Security System (RSS) and not a single village, not a single area has been spared, “ La Rocque said, acknowledging too that his house did not escape the fury of the storm.

“There is not a community that has not been affected in Dominica,” he told CMC, while the executive director of the Barbados-based Caribbean Disaster Emergency Response Agency (CDERA), Ronald Jackson, who was also on the helicopter noted “it certainly confirming the widespread devastation.

“A lot of people have lost their roofs. We have not been getting in much supplies to help the people,” he said, adding “it is only now that you are on the ground you will understand how challenging the reconstruction will be.

“It is one of the most powerful storms to hit the Caribbean and obviously the challenges presented by the terrain of Dominica makes it that even more devastating,” Jackson said.

The former secretary general of the Caribbean Congress of Labour (CCL), Kertist Augustus, who wanted to assure his former regional and international colleagues that he had survived the storm and that the ghost of Hurricane David has again come to haunt Dominicans.

“I am more concerned as to what is happening to the membership of the Waterfront and Allied Workers Union (WAWU). We have heard about deaths but we cannot confirm whether they are associated in any way with the membership of the union”.

“But for everyone I want them to stay as strong as possible. Once you have life, you will be able to get back to where you were,” he said, hoping there will be assistance from the regional and international affiliates.

Augustus, who like several other Dominicans were carrying buckets of water to deal with the situation caused by the storm, said that it is indeed going to be difficult, because ‘some of us remember what transpired with David in 1979. Maria in 2017, is 10, 20 30 times worse and we would have to get together with the people of the country, the leadership of the country and all interested people in the country to formulate a strategy to carry us forward”.

Most, if not all of the hotels on the island, are either severely damaged or destroyed.

Marvin James, the general manager of the Fort Young Hotel that overlooked the harbour, told CMC “we have lost quite a bit of our rooms.

‘We have 51 guests on the property from all nationalities. They are still here waiting for word to get out of the country. For us that’s the main objective so that we can begin the recovery project,” she added.

The nearby Garraway Hotel did not fare any better and so too many of the Churches in the capital, including the Anglican Church that was destroyed when David struck in 1979 and the Roman Catholic Church that was being rehabilitated under a multi-million dollar project.

Prime Minister Roosevelt Skerrit, whose home also failed to withstand the fury of Maria, has gone to neighbouring Antigua and Barbuda to deliver a message through the media there to the diaspora and is due to travel to the United States to address the United Nationals General Assembly (UNGA) along with his partner leader from Antigua and Barbuda, Prime Minister Gaston Browne on international assistance to rebuild their countries.

The state-owned DBS radio, which was knocked out during the storm, has resumed broadcasting, albeit with the coverage confined mainly to the capital.

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The Montserrat Reporter - August 18, 2017

https://indd.adobe.com/view/fefbe432-457e-4ac8-8976-c4a380014263

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by STAFF WRITER

ST. JOHN’S , Antigua, Sep. 21, CMC – The Prime Minister of Dominica, Roosevelt Skerrit has issued an urgent appeal for the island, following the passage of Hurricane Maria earlier this week.

Skerrit in an emotional interview on ABS television on Thursday said the entire nation  has been impacted by the powerful storm and at least 15 people are dead and 20 others are missing .

“The entire east, the extreme south, the inner communities…the rain forest areas where the indigenous people reside…there are significant challenges,” he said.

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2017-09-20-PHOTO-00000146Skerrit, who also lost the roof his home during the storm, said the “logistics of getting supplies will be critical” and he has authorised and approved a distribution strategy.

“The most immediate needs are tarpaulins, water,  and food supplies…..every village I’ve been to, they are in need of water and more water and baby supplies.”

However the Prime Minister said the resilience of Dominicans is evident even in the midst of crisis and the “community spirit is kicking in”.

“People are on the move, clearing the streets to create access to buildings. Some of them are still in shelters….. there are also many who have no place to sleep at night.”

Concerning telecommunications, the Prime Minister said experts from both Digicel and Flow have been working feverishly to restore services as there is limited cellular coverage.

Skerrit said the road to recovery will be a long one.

“It is going to be a very long a difficult journey, but I am confident that if we remain united as a people we can bounce back. It will take us sometime but as for myself I am completely committed to the country in doing what I can to  assist in raising the necessary finances and making contacts.

The Prime Minister said he will be travelling to New York on Friday to address the United Nations general Assembly.

Skerritii“I originally had no intentions of going …. But I will speak to the international community, to have meetings with UN Secretary General, to outline Dominica’s situation . So we will not leave any stone unturned. We have all been impacted and we can only make life better.”

In making reference to the health sector, the Prime Minister said patients in need of critical care at the hospital – that lost its roof, must be airlifted.

“The hospital is being run on an archaic system…..the dialysis machines are down, the ICU has been destroyed by the hurricane. That is one of our major concerns.Any country that can assist us with airlifting patients to Martinique. One patient who has to receive dialysis everyday walked over 21 miles and I met him at the hospital….another patient, if he doesn’t get airlifted, he will expire.”

Skerrit also pointed to the  need for access to resources to build more resilient countries.

“We have been playing our part but the extent of the resources required to put in the mitigation systems is beyond us…..”

In a message to  Dominicans in the Diaspora, Skerrit said the country needs them.

“If there has ever been a time that Dominica needed its people the most, it is now…..I am here to speak on behalf of the 72-thousand people who call Dominica home – everyone of us need you.”

Dominicans dazed by destruction of Hurricane Maria

By Peter Richards

ROSEAU, Dominica, Sept 21, CMC – Martin Dell is unapologetic when it comes to begging after Hurricane Maria.

“Man we need all the help we can. Man I have been crying for days, I have been looting food. I have no choice it is a hard time, not even water,” he told the Caribbean Media Corporation (CMC) Thursday as he and others watch as several people began looting a shop in the heart of the capital.

One other person, who did not want to be identified said that Hurricane Maria, which tore into the island as a Category 5 Storm on Monday night, has left behind, not only destroyed houses, broken bridges, uprooted trees, torn roofs, but also broken lives.

“Everything gone in Dominica I tell you. My house gone, everything go, my bank book, my car. My brother I have a child, a boy, I have to think about him,” he says, insisting that Dominica is “indeed broken”.

The hurricane tore into the island just as it was recovering from the ravages of Tropical Storm Erika that killed at least 30 people and left hundreds of millions of dollars in damages two years ago.

Maria 1
Storm damage in Roseau (CMC Photo)

From the air, the country looks like a total war zone. As the British Military helicopter hoovers over the capital on its way down to Windsor Park Stadium that was built a few years ago with tremendous funding from overseas donors, the magnitude of the damage become real.

The hills are no longer lush green, but brown and the trees that once bent gently in the afternoon breeze, are no more. Instead, tree stumps shoot out, as if begging for forgiveness. The authorities have not yet been able to make their way to other parts of the capital and on Thursday efforts were underway to try to get the road leading from the Douglas Charles airport to the capital, re-opened.

“The disaster is total,” said Caribbean Community (CARICOM) Secretary General, Irwin la Rocque, a Dominican, who was among several officials on board the helicopter coming to have a first hand view of the damage caused by Maria when it hit the islands with winds of over 180 miles per hour (mph).

“I have seen some other aerial pictures taken by the Regional Security System (RSS) and not a single village, not a single area has been spared, “ La Rocque said, acknowledging too that his house did not escape the fury of the storm.

“There is not a community that has not been affected in Dominica,” he told CMC, while the executive director of the Barbados-based Caribbean Disaster Emergency Response Agency (CDERA), Ronald Jackson, who was also on the helicopter noted “it certainly confirming the widespread devastation.

“A lot of people have lost their roofs. We have not been getting in much supplies to help the people,” he said, adding “it is only now that you are on the ground you will understand how challenging the reconstruction will be.

“It is one of the most powerful storms to hit the Caribbean and obviously the challenges presented by the terrain of Dominica makes it that even more devastating,” Jackson said.

The former secretary general of the Caribbean Congress of Labour (CCL), Kertist Augustus, who wanted to assure his former regional and international colleagues that he had survived the storm and that the ghost of Hurricane David has again come to haunt Dominicans.

“I am more concerned as to what is happening to the membership of the Waterfront and Allied Workers Union (WAWU). We have heard about deaths but we cannot confirm whether they are associated in any way with the membership of the union”.

“But for everyone I want them to stay as strong as possible. Once you have life, you will be able to get back to where you were,” he said, hoping there will be assistance from the regional and international affiliates.

Augustus, who like several other Dominicans were carrying buckets of water to deal with the situation caused by the storm, said that it is indeed going to be difficult, because ‘some of us remember what transpired with David in 1979. Maria in 2017, is 10, 20 30 times worse and we would have to get together with the people of the country, the leadership of the country and all interested people in the country to formulate a strategy to carry us forward”.

Most, if not all of the hotels on the island, are either severely damaged or destroyed.

Marvin James, the general manager of the Fort Young Hotel that overlooked the harbour, told CMC “we have lost quite a bit of our rooms.

‘We have 51 guests on the property from all nationalities. They are still here waiting for word to get out of the country. For us that’s the main objective so that we can begin the recovery project,” she added.

The nearby Garraway Hotel did not fare any better and so too many of the Churches in the capital, including the Anglican Church that was destroyed when David struck in 1979 and the Roman Catholic Church that was being rehabilitated under a multi-million dollar project.

Prime Minister Roosevelt Skerrit, whose home also failed to withstand the fury of Maria, has gone to neighbouring Antigua and Barbuda to deliver a message through the media there to the diaspora and is due to travel to the United States to address the United Nationals General Assembly (UNGA) along with his partner leader from Antigua and Barbuda, Prime Minister Gaston Browne on international assistance to rebuild their countries.

The state-owned DBS radio, which was knocked out during the storm, has resumed broadcasting, albeit with the coverage confined mainly to the capital.