Dominica Minister says Caribbean can learn from its rebuilding efforts

Still recovering from the destruction caused by Tropical Storm Erika two years ago, the small island of Dominica was hit by Hurricane Maria – a category five storm about a month ago.

The country’s entire infrastructure was left in ruins, leaving its population of approximately 74,000 people without potable water, electricity, shelter and food.

Despite the challenges, Dominica’s Minister of Housing, Reginald Austrie told the News Room that other Caribbean States can use the island’s experience as a model for rebuilding.

“Dominica is a test case. Hurricane is a threat to the region, or other natural disasters and one of those days it could be the turn of another country to face those challenges and so we are saying, if we can resolve or identify some of the critical areas that Hurricane Maria has exposed then the other countries in the region can piggyback on whatever advancement we can make and whatever solutions we can find,” he explained during an exclusive interview on the sidelines of the Caribbean Water and Wastewater Association Conference being hosted at the Marriott Hotel, Kingston in Guyana.

Read more at: News Room

Hurricane recovery: Children to benefit from OECS-UNICEF ‘Return to Happiness Programme’

children-drawing-pencils-case

Tuesday, October 17, 2017 — 214 children from Barbuda received psycho social assistance, after the trauma of hurricane Irma, through the Return to Happiness Programme implemented from October 2-7 by 17 education specialists. The Saint Lucian delegation of volunteers, who successfully completed the first mission, will extend their operations to other affected countries.

The passage of two category 5 hurricanes resulted in major material damage in several countries of the region and also left significant psychological marks on the victims, which is more difficult to evaluate. Natural disasters of this magnitude often leave survivors suffering from trauma and, especially when children are affected, their emotional suffering needs to be given special attention.

As a result, the OECS Commission and UNICEF partnered to implement a psycho social programme dedicated to children between 5 to 12 years old: Return to Happiness Programme (RTH). The RTH methodology has been used worldwide in countries impacted by a human or natural catastrophe such as major armed conflicts or high magnitude earthquakes. Its goal is to support the recovery of young children by giving them opportunities to share their feelings.

A team of 17 education professionals trained in the Return to Happiness methodology have been sent from Saint Lucia to Antigua and Barbuda on a mission from October 2 to 5. These educators received logistical support from the OECS Commission to ensure air transportation and the necessary accommodations on the ground.

Read more at: Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States

Surviving a hurricane – cricketers share their experiences

The roof was ripped off Liam Sebastien's home in Goodwill, Dominica by Hurricane Maria © Liam Sebastien

Cricketers Shane Shillingford and Liam Sebastien (and Viv Richards) talk about living through Hurricane Maria in Dominica, and how cricket helped its own

by NAGRAJ GOLLAPUDI | OCTOBER 16, 2017

On the evening of September 18, Shane Shillingford, the West Indies offspinner, was sitting in his living room with his wife and father, playing board games. Music piped in the background. Outside, the wind was strong and there was some rain too.

Shillingford, who played 16 Tests till 2014, lives in Dublanc village, about a 15-minute drive from Portsmouth in the north-west of the island of Dominica, one in the string of tiny islands in the Caribbean that runs down from Antigua to Trinidad and Tobago in the south, flanked by the Atlantic to the east and the Caribbbean Sea to the west.

August-September is usually hurricane season in the Caribbean. Hurricane Irma had devastated Barbuda, the sister island of Antigua, on September 6. Now Dominica was bracing for Hurricane Maria, but the initial feeling, at least according to Shillingford, was it would not be too bad.

However, Maria went on to be the tenth most intense hurricane in the Atlantic ever. The news bulletins and weather forecasts were for the storm to pass Dominica by, but it shifted course suddenly. “We never thought that the hurricane was coming direct to us,” Shillingford says, speaking to ESPNcricinfo three weeks later.

Four days later: torn roofs and destroyed houses in Dominica © Getty Images
Four days later: torn roofs and destroyed houses in Dominica © Getty Images

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