Strong CARICOM support for hurricane ravaged Dominica

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CARICOM Secretary-General Ambassador Irwin LaRocque (centre in light clothing) poses with regional hurricane relief workers
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Barbados coast guard vessel arrives in Dominica
The Governments and people of Caribbean Community (CARICOM) Member States continue to actively support their sister country Dominica following Monday night’s devastating passage of Category 5 Hurricane Maria.

“We’ve lost all that money can buy”, Prime Minister Roosevelt had disclosed after surveying the widespread damage to houses and infrastructure.  A number of deaths have also been reported.

The government of close neighbour Antigua and Barbuda, while still itself in recovery mode from another Category Five Hurricane, Irma’s destructive passage over Barbuda, made an immediate pledge of US$300,000, to which Tourism Minister Asot Michael added a further US$100,000.  Antigua-Barbuda’s state and private broadcast media, in particular ABS Radio and TV have been providing a critical connection between Dominica’s residents and the rest of the world, especially  during the period when all broadcast and internet services were down. ABS TV  provided the first broadcast by Prime Minister Roosevelt Skerrit to the world after his initial aerial tour of the devastation.

  VIDEO: Prime Minister Rowley of Trinidad and Tobago

Barbados was also quick out the blocks, putting two coast guard vessels at Dominica’s disposal to help transport technical personnel and supplies. The vessels left Bridgetown loaded with water and other emergency supplies donated by Barbadians in heavily supported collection drives.  Barbados has also arranged to provide much needed doctors and nurses to assist with critical medical services.

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Emergency supplies arrive via coast guard vessel
With rural communities cut off by damaged or blocked roadways, Trinidad and Tobago’s helicopter service proved critical for transporting emergency personnel and assessment teams to the remote villages for damage assessment, to extract the injured and stranded, and to deliver  emergency supplies. Trinidad and Tobago had previously  provided its helicopter  to the Antigua and Barbuda government to assist with emergency services between Antigua and sister-island Barbuda which lost more than 90 percent of its houses to Hurricane Irma and which, as a result, had to be totally evacuated. The Trinidad and Tobago government also announced that it will waive the immigration requirements for residents of Dominica for a period of six months as the CARICOM Member State rebuilds.

The Dominica Government welcomed contingents of police officers from Trinidad and Tobago, Barbados, Grenada, Saint Lucia and Jamaica among others to assist with security during this recovery period. Grenada announced that a detachment from its Special Services Unit has joined an earlier team of communication and logistics officers supporting the CARICOM Disaster Relief Unit (CDRU).  Jamaica made available 120 members of its Defence Force Disaster Response Team to help with maintaining public order, engineering, relief distribution and damage assessment.  Saint Lucia’s police contingent was joined by fire and rescue officers as well as disaster assessment officials from the country’s National Emergency Management Organization (NEMO).   (more…)

Hurricanes can turn back the development clock by years

A street in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, after Hurricane Mathew.  (UN Photo/Logan Abassi)
A street in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, after Hurricane Mathew.
(UN Photo/Logan Abassi)

The everyday names of Hurricanes like Irma belie their unprecedented fury and ability to claim not just human lives, homes, bridges and roads. The silent and barely visible victim of these extreme weather events is, increasingly, human and social development.

World Bank studies indicate that some 26 million people – the equivalent of the combined population of Chile and Bolivia – fall into poverty each year due to natural disasters.

No one can stop a hurricane or earthquake, but there are ways to minimize their impacts, as disaster risk management expert Joaquin Toro explains in the following interview.

Read more at: World Bank

Dominica beaten, but not down – Principal Adviser to PM Skerrit

Dominica is beaten but not down,  Mr. Hartley Henry, Principal Adviser to the Prime Minister of Dominica, said this morning.

Speaking on ABSTV/Radio via satellite phone, Mr. Henry gave an update on the widespread damage that the island suffered following a direct hit by Hurricane Maria on Monday. He described the situation was “very grim”.

 

Communication on the island is minimal. All cell towers and telephone systems are down and will be for “a little while”, he said. Prime Minister Roosevelt Skerrit is currently using satellite phone donated yesterday by the French government and more pieces of communication equipment are expected later in the day, Mr Henry said.

There is no electricity, nor running water. While the network of roads was not as severely damaged as originally anticipated, the housing stock was badly damaged or destroyed. Public buildings which were being used as shelters, were also damaged and many are without roofs. People were “sleeping under the elements because no roofing structure is in place”, he told the television station.


He said there was an urgent need for bedding and blankets, and roofing material.

See second video above on Mr Henry’s update. Listen from around 1:04:00.

Guyana’s land space can serve as ‘gift’ to the Caribbean battered by hurricanes – President Granger

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President David Granger speaking to the Guyanese media corps who are currently covering the United Nations General Assembly in New York

News Roon, Guyana  –  Guyana’s vast landscape can serve as a “gift” to Caribbean islands devastated by recent hurricanes, President David Granger said today as he sought to get the dangers posed by climate change firmly on the international agenda.

“We are the largest CARICOM (Caribbean Community) state and we have to consider our land space as being the hinterland of the Caribbean.

“We have to sit down and speak to other CARICOM states to see how this gift could be utilised to give the Caribbean people a better life in the wake of these disasters,” Granger told Guyanese media at the United Nations headquarters in New York. (more…)

Guyana sends first set of relief to Hurricane affected islands

Minister of Citizenship Winston Felix, Preparedness and Response Manager of the Civil Defense Commission Major Sean Welcome and officials from the affected Islands with relief supplies. (Photo via Department of Public Information)
Guyana Minister of Citizenship Winston Felix, Preparedness and Response Manager of the Civil Defence Commission Major Sean Welcome and officials from the affected Islands with relief supplies. (Photo via Department of Public Information)

The first set of relief by Government to hurricane-affected islands Antigua, St Maarten, and the British Virgin Islands (BVI) arrived in Antigua via aircraft on Sunday, September 17, 2017. Minister of Citizenship Winston Felix who joined the Needs Assessment team in Antigua on Sunday has expressed Government’s commitment to continued support. Following his arrival, the Minister visited Tortola, BVI, where he met with some of the Guyanese Nationals affected. It is estimated that some 1,500 Guyanese reside on the island.