“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.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…)