Post-TS Erika Update

1 April 2016:  Announcement of the Commencement of Work on the Dominica Disaster Resource Centre (DDRC)
(Government of Dominica YouTube video link)

29 November 2015:  Meeting and Presentation of Cheque from the UK Community

Dominicans and friends of Dominica were invited to a meeting at the Dominica High Commission on Sunday 29th November 2015. The meeting was hosted and facilitated by the Third Secretary Ms Nakinda Daniel.

The highlight of the afternoon was the presentation of a cheque from the UK community. The sum of £55,804.82 pence was received by Ms Baron on behalf of the Government of Dominica from Ms Daniel. Further cheques are waiting to be cleared and to be added to the original amount.

Ms Nakinda Daniel, Third Secretary at the Dominica High Commission in London makes the presentation of the cheque in the sum of £55,804.82 to The Hon. Minister of Foreign Affairs, Francine Baron, that represents the UK Diaspora's efforts in raising funds for Tropical Storm Erika, at the Dominica High Commission, 29 November 2015.

Cheque in the sum of  £55,804.82 which represents the UK Diaspora's efforts in raising funds for Tropical Storm Erika. The money will fund a specific project in Dominica that is yet to be identified.  

The invited guest speakers were the Honourable Minister of Foreign Affairs & CARICOM Affairs Ms Francine Baron, and the Director of Tourism for the Discover Dominica Authority, Mr Colin Piper. Other noted guests were representatives from the Brighter Group, and the UK representative for Dominica Tourism.

The treasurer for the UK based organisation, Dominica National Development & Disaster Fund (DNDDF) gave a report on the work of the DNDDF and how its members assisted in the wake of Tropical Storm Erika. Ms Bertha Joseph, Chairperson for the Tropical Storm Erika Relief Fund Committee elaborated, giving a detailed account of the work the Committee had undertaken with the assistance of Dominican Nationals and the wider community in the UK.

Front row (l to r):  Darren Sylvester (Deputy Chairman, DONA); Bertha Joseph (Chairperson, Tropical Storm Erika Relief Fund Committee); Francine Baron The Hon.Minister for Foreign Affairs for the Government of the Commonwealth of Dominica; Clara St. Paul (Hon.Secretary, DONA); Joseph Vidal (Chairman, DONA); Marvlyn Greenaway; Ethelca Brand (Hon.Treasurer, DONA); Back row (left): Sylvia Smith; Sylvester Defoe; Back row (right): George St Paul; Errol Blackman.                

Ms Joseph listed various individuals, who with the support of the staff of the Office of the Dominica High Commission worked vigorously to reach their goal of raising funds and sending aid to Dominica as quickly as possible.

In her speech, Ms Baron expressed her thanks, saying that the Government of Dominica is eternally grateful for the aid provided by people in the UK. Dominica  was impressed with the swift response that it received from overseas. Trinidad and Venezuela gave assistance by sending helicopters which transported victims from the most damaged areas of the island. The French and Chinese, with the help of local people, ensured that the main airport was re‑opened for commercial use within a week. Many of the damaged bridges have been repaired making most of the roads passable. Major roads were cleared, schools have been re-opened or students relocated. The water supply has now been reconnected in most areas.

Unfortunately, many people are still in temporary accommodation. The communities of Dubique and Petite Savanne have to be relocated. Although a priority, this will take time because precautions have to be undertaken to ensure that the new developments are located in safe areas. New homes also have to be found for some families in the Bath Estate area. It is also important that safe building codes are observed when carrying out any new building projects. The village of Checkhall was also badly damaged.  It is understood that this is because many of the homes were built on the river bed.

The Honourable Minister for Foreign Affairs & CARICOM Affairs, Ms Francine Baron
addressing the audience, and Mr Colin Piper, Director of Discover Dominica Authority
(seated on the left).

But the overall message is that Dominicans are resilient people and we should now be looking to the future and to rebuilding Dominica. We should also ensure that we are better prepared should Dominica experience another disaster of that magnitude. The Government is reviewing its Disaster Strategy; the revised document will be a guide for other islands of the Caribbean.

The message from the Director of Tourism is that the worse is over and ‘Dominica is open for business’. Mr Piper stressed that for the economy to grow, Dominica’s tourist industry needs investment. He encouraged the meeting to visit Dominica. He said that he was doing his best to develop a better working relationship with LIAT. He is hoping that by the end of the year, that night landing will be re-established in Douglas-Charles Airport.  That will lessen the need for travellers to overnight in Antigua or Barbados. His job on this trip to the UK is to work with the Brighter Group to develop promotional strategies to encourage tourism in Dominica.

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