Categorized | Hurricane, Local, News, Regional

UN Secretary General says Dominica was decimated by Hurricane Maria

 
ROSEAU, Dominica, Oct. 8, CMC – United Nations Secretary General António Guterres described  as “dramatic”, the devastation of Dominica following the passage of Hurricane Maria on September 18.

Speaking at press conference here on Sunday, Guterres noted that every community ielt the impact of the powerful category 5 storm.

“I have never seen anywhere else in the world – a forest completely decimated without one single leaf on any three and even if I have come from Barbuda, where most of the houses were destroyed, Barbuda is a small island linked to Antigua  – and Antigua can support Barbuda But your country, it’s the whole country that has been decimated and its in every community . I’ve seen most of the buildings destroyed or heavily damaged.”

Skerrit and UN Sec. GenHowever, the UN Secretary General, also said he was also mpressed by the resilience of the people.

“I was impressed by the effective response that your government and your people, was able to put together. A response that allows what I see today to be very different from what we could see immediately after the hurricane.”

Gutteres, reiterated the need for the International community  to recognise that the intensity of hurricanes is linked to climate change.

“The intensity of hurricanes in this season is not an accident, it is as a result of climate change. Sometimes people say “we always have hurricanes”  – it is true , but what we have never had is the intensity, the frequency and the devastating impact.”

He pointed to scientific proof of the link between climate change and the intensity of hurricanes in the Caribbean.

“It is clear that the level of support that Dominica requires cannot be achieved through the traditional instruments. Even if Dominica is a middle income country – it is a middle income country with enormous vulnerability that  was proven now in a very dramatic way, there must be a review of the way , middle income countries are supported.”

Guterres said there must be new financial instruments and bonds of different natures as well as several forms of financing for the country to rebuild .

“The United Nations is entirely at your side, we have been cooperating in your efforts with our limited capacity, but I’m proud that my colleagues are doing their best. But our voice will be together with your voice,  calling for the world to assume its responsibilities in relation to climate change and for the adequate financial instruments to be created and with easy access for your reconstruction to become a real possibility for the benefit of the people of Dominica.

Guterres’s trip forms part of a two-day visit to see the damage caused by Hurricanes Irma and Maria.

On Saturday, the UN Secretary General visited Barbuda, followed by his tour of DOminica where Hurricane Maria ploughed through killed more than two dozen people and left thousands homeless.

For his part, Prime Minister Roosevelt Skerrit said Dominica has the “unique opportunity” to show the world how a country rebounds of disaster.

“We can be an example to the world of how an entire nation rebounds of disaster and how and entire nation can be climate resilient for the future. We did not choose this opportunity …having had it thrust upon us, we have chosen to be that example to the world.”

Skerrit said Dominica is on a journey to become the world’s first climate resistant nation in the climate change era.

“I see an important role for the United Nations in guiding us with good analysis on how to achieve and monitor national climate resilience. And we know we must do this all in a professional and well governed manner that will encourage the international development agencies to invest their funds….we caution that this is not an academic debate first, it is real and present.”

Skerrit said a critical challenge, is having access to funds and the manifestation on the ground.

“This is one of the message we would like to echo to the international community – that we must work together to overcoming the bureaucratic hurdles in accessing the funds quickly,” the Prime Minister said.

UN Secretary General describes Barbuda as “paradise transformed to hell”

 By Anika Kentish

CODRINGTON, Barbuda, Oct 7, CMC –United Nations Secretary General, António Guterres, Saturday described the hurricane-ravaged island of Barbuda as a “paradise transformed to hell” and has renewed his commitment to seeing that small island states affected by devastating hurricanes remain in the forefront for consideration for critical aid needed to rebuild.

Geut1
UN Secretary General António Guterres speaking to reporters (CMC Photo)

“I have just witnessed a level of devastation I’ve never seen in my life,” Guterres told reporters at news conference on his return to Antigua, adding “I’ve been in areas torn by conflict; in my own country I’ve seen earthquakes, I’ve seen storms; I’ve never seen such a high level of devastation like the one I have seen in Barbuda.

“To see a paradise transformed (to) hell is something that creates to us all that live in this planet a responsibility. We need to preserve our paradises. We need to make climate action our top priority.”

The short visit to the 62 square mile island allowed the Secretary General to see first-hand widespread damage caused by Hurricane Irma, a deadly Category 5 storm that ripped through the island in September. The 68-year-old Portuguese diplomat spent about an hour, walking the streets of Codrington and taking in the scenes of roofless homes, mangled galvanise, water-logged properties and downed trees and utility lines.

Guterres was accompanied by a team of Antiguan & Barbudan officials including Prime Minister Gaston Browne, Health Minister Molwyn Joseph, and Barbuda Council Chairperson Knacyntar Need.

The tour included unscheduled stops at people’s homes to speak to residents who had returned to clean their properties. In some instances, the UN leader broke away from his entourage to wade his way through scattered debris and peer into damaged homes and businesses. Stepping back, he would shake his head in disbelief and return to his waiting party.

Another stop allowed him to meet with Barbudans Knackbill Nedd and Nigil Lewis. The two men were among several who returned to the island to assist with the clean-up.  They both shared their experience weathering the storm and their outlook for rebuilding the island and restoring people’s livelihood.

“Certain things have to come back before you get work, like utilities will have to be back in place. That will have a spill off so you’ll get some work from that… those things have to come back in place so that you can get a job,” Lewis explained to the UN boss.

“In terms of economic loss, it’s a total loss,” Prime Minister Gaston Browne added. He also noted that most Barbudans build from accrued savings and that many will not be able to save enough to rebuild what was lost.

“We have a true friend in the secretary general,” Prime Minister Browne told the Barbudan men as he sought to ensure them that the island will receive the aide need.

During the post-tour press conference at the Prime Minister’s office in Antigua, Guterres told reporters there was a clear link between the level of greenhouse gasses, water temperature and the intensity of storms, thereby strengthening the case for taking action against climate change.

During last month’s UN General Assembly, Guterres and global leaders agreed to accelerate efforts on climate action and to implement the Paris Agreement.

In a statement, the UN said the discussions heralded “a new phase in efforts aimed at mobilizing and scaling up transformative action that will allow the world to achieve the goals of the Paris Agreement on climate change.

Though he was not satisfied with the level of response from the international community, Guterres remained hopeful that his visit would raise awareness to the plight of hurricane-ravaged island states and spur donors into action.

Browne was satisfied that Guterres’ visit not only allowed the diplomat to see significant portion of the damage, but to put the plight of the island’s residents on the world stage.

“I think he would have done three miles walking and would have observed first-hand the exent of the devastation,” Browne said. “He came his own conclusion that it was a transformation of paradise latterly into hell.”

Guterres’s trip forms part of a two-day visit that would allow him to see the damage caused by Hurricanes Irma and Maria. The second leg of the tour takes him to “Nature Isle” Dominica where Hurricane Maria ploughed through killing more than two dozen people and rendering thousands homeless.

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A Moment with the Registrar of Lands

by STAFF WRITER
 
ROSEAU, Dominica, Oct. 8, CMC – United Nations Secretary General António Guterres described  as “dramatic”, the devastation of Dominica following the passage of Hurricane Maria on September 18.

Speaking at press conference here on Sunday, Guterres noted that every community ielt the impact of the powerful category 5 storm.

“I have never seen anywhere else in the world – a forest completely decimated without one single leaf on any three and even if I have come from Barbuda, where most of the houses were destroyed, Barbuda is a small island linked to Antigua  – and Antigua can support Barbuda But your country, it’s the whole country that has been decimated and its in every community . I’ve seen most of the buildings destroyed or heavily damaged.”

Skerrit and UN Sec. GenHowever, the UN Secretary General, also said he was also mpressed by the resilience of the people.

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“I was impressed by the effective response that your government and your people, was able to put together. A response that allows what I see today to be very different from what we could see immediately after the hurricane.”

Gutteres, reiterated the need for the International community  to recognise that the intensity of hurricanes is linked to climate change.

“The intensity of hurricanes in this season is not an accident, it is as a result of climate change. Sometimes people say “we always have hurricanes”  – it is true , but what we have never had is the intensity, the frequency and the devastating impact.”

He pointed to scientific proof of the link between climate change and the intensity of hurricanes in the Caribbean.

“It is clear that the level of support that Dominica requires cannot be achieved through the traditional instruments. Even if Dominica is a middle income country – it is a middle income country with enormous vulnerability that  was proven now in a very dramatic way, there must be a review of the way , middle income countries are supported.”

Guterres said there must be new financial instruments and bonds of different natures as well as several forms of financing for the country to rebuild .

“The United Nations is entirely at your side, we have been cooperating in your efforts with our limited capacity, but I’m proud that my colleagues are doing their best. But our voice will be together with your voice,  calling for the world to assume its responsibilities in relation to climate change and for the adequate financial instruments to be created and with easy access for your reconstruction to become a real possibility for the benefit of the people of Dominica.

Guterres’s trip forms part of a two-day visit to see the damage caused by Hurricanes Irma and Maria.

On Saturday, the UN Secretary General visited Barbuda, followed by his tour of DOminica where Hurricane Maria ploughed through killed more than two dozen people and left thousands homeless.

For his part, Prime Minister Roosevelt Skerrit said Dominica has the “unique opportunity” to show the world how a country rebounds of disaster.

“We can be an example to the world of how an entire nation rebounds of disaster and how and entire nation can be climate resilient for the future. We did not choose this opportunity …having had it thrust upon us, we have chosen to be that example to the world.”

Skerrit said Dominica is on a journey to become the world’s first climate resistant nation in the climate change era.

“I see an important role for the United Nations in guiding us with good analysis on how to achieve and monitor national climate resilience. And we know we must do this all in a professional and well governed manner that will encourage the international development agencies to invest their funds….we caution that this is not an academic debate first, it is real and present.”

Skerrit said a critical challenge, is having access to funds and the manifestation on the ground.

“This is one of the message we would like to echo to the international community – that we must work together to overcoming the bureaucratic hurdles in accessing the funds quickly,” the Prime Minister said.

UN Secretary General describes Barbuda as “paradise transformed to hell”

 By Anika Kentish

CODRINGTON, Barbuda, Oct 7, CMC –United Nations Secretary General, António Guterres, Saturday described the hurricane-ravaged island of Barbuda as a “paradise transformed to hell” and has renewed his commitment to seeing that small island states affected by devastating hurricanes remain in the forefront for consideration for critical aid needed to rebuild.

Geut1
UN Secretary General António Guterres speaking to reporters (CMC Photo)

“I have just witnessed a level of devastation I’ve never seen in my life,” Guterres told reporters at news conference on his return to Antigua, adding “I’ve been in areas torn by conflict; in my own country I’ve seen earthquakes, I’ve seen storms; I’ve never seen such a high level of devastation like the one I have seen in Barbuda.

“To see a paradise transformed (to) hell is something that creates to us all that live in this planet a responsibility. We need to preserve our paradises. We need to make climate action our top priority.”

The short visit to the 62 square mile island allowed the Secretary General to see first-hand widespread damage caused by Hurricane Irma, a deadly Category 5 storm that ripped through the island in September. The 68-year-old Portuguese diplomat spent about an hour, walking the streets of Codrington and taking in the scenes of roofless homes, mangled galvanise, water-logged properties and downed trees and utility lines.

Guterres was accompanied by a team of Antiguan & Barbudan officials including Prime Minister Gaston Browne, Health Minister Molwyn Joseph, and Barbuda Council Chairperson Knacyntar Need.

The tour included unscheduled stops at people’s homes to speak to residents who had returned to clean their properties. In some instances, the UN leader broke away from his entourage to wade his way through scattered debris and peer into damaged homes and businesses. Stepping back, he would shake his head in disbelief and return to his waiting party.

Another stop allowed him to meet with Barbudans Knackbill Nedd and Nigil Lewis. The two men were among several who returned to the island to assist with the clean-up.  They both shared their experience weathering the storm and their outlook for rebuilding the island and restoring people’s livelihood.

“Certain things have to come back before you get work, like utilities will have to be back in place. That will have a spill off so you’ll get some work from that… those things have to come back in place so that you can get a job,” Lewis explained to the UN boss.

“In terms of economic loss, it’s a total loss,” Prime Minister Gaston Browne added. He also noted that most Barbudans build from accrued savings and that many will not be able to save enough to rebuild what was lost.

“We have a true friend in the secretary general,” Prime Minister Browne told the Barbudan men as he sought to ensure them that the island will receive the aide need.

During the post-tour press conference at the Prime Minister’s office in Antigua, Guterres told reporters there was a clear link between the level of greenhouse gasses, water temperature and the intensity of storms, thereby strengthening the case for taking action against climate change.

During last month’s UN General Assembly, Guterres and global leaders agreed to accelerate efforts on climate action and to implement the Paris Agreement.

In a statement, the UN said the discussions heralded “a new phase in efforts aimed at mobilizing and scaling up transformative action that will allow the world to achieve the goals of the Paris Agreement on climate change.

Though he was not satisfied with the level of response from the international community, Guterres remained hopeful that his visit would raise awareness to the plight of hurricane-ravaged island states and spur donors into action.

Browne was satisfied that Guterres’ visit not only allowed the diplomat to see significant portion of the damage, but to put the plight of the island’s residents on the world stage.

“I think he would have done three miles walking and would have observed first-hand the exent of the devastation,” Browne said. “He came his own conclusion that it was a transformation of paradise latterly into hell.”

Guterres’s trip forms part of a two-day visit that would allow him to see the damage caused by Hurricanes Irma and Maria. The second leg of the tour takes him to “Nature Isle” Dominica where Hurricane Maria ploughed through killing more than two dozen people and rendering thousands homeless.