Log In

Reset Password

Dunkley: ‘We must help Dominica’

Seven-year-old Redefine Aristile leaps over a puddle where a mudslide partially submerged several homes, in rain-soaked Montrouis, Haiti, Saturday, August 29. Tropical Storm Erika dissipated early Saturday, but it left devastation in its path on the small eastern Caribbean island of Dominica, and parts of Haiti(Photograph by Dieu Nalio Chery/AP)

Michael Dunkley has been in talks with Dominica Prime Minister Roosevelt Skerrit in the wake of the devastation of Tropical Storm Erika, urging the public to assist if they can.

The Premier said in a statement: “We must always help when and where we can. I spoke with Prime Minister Roosevelt Skerrit yesterday and he expressed his gratitude for the concern and well wishes from the people of Bermuda, many of whom have family links to Dominica.

“The devastation was due to extreme flooding, landslides, and now water contamination and food shortage. Many roads remain impassable, 50 per cent of the island is without electricity, and 20-plus people are known dead with 35 missing. Search and rescue efforts continue with assistance from neighbouring countries.”

The Premier said he also spoke with Premier Donaldson Romeo of Montserrat, where the storm brought rain but little damage.

“Here at home, I would urge everyone to be storm-ready and have their hurricane stores and preparations in order,” Mr Dunkley said. “There is an increase in activity in the Atlantic and we should be prepared as a community in the unfortunate event of a storm affecting Bermuda.

“I will continue to stay in contact with this relief effort for Dominica and ask that we remember that island and its people in our thoughts and prayers during this recovery period.”

The statement noted that the Caribbean Public Health Agency arranged a Skype conference in order to coordinate support for Dominica, involving Bermuda’s chief medical officer Cheryl Peek-Ball and senior medical officer Janice Chang.

A spokeswoman said: “Dominica has established a website where information can be found and where those interested and able to contribute resources can find the list of needs. The website is www.opm.gov.dm and the link on the site is ‘Erika Relief’ under which categories of relief needs are itemised.

“A relief coordination effort is being rolled out currently and questions about specific donations and needs should be directed to local officials at dom.healtheoc@gmail.com.

“At this time, it should be noted that individuals and organisations in Bermuda who wish to assist can send monetary donations unless specifically informed by Dominican officials on arrangements to receive shipped goods. There will also be a need for public health personnel, including mental health support, which can be arranged with the relevant Dominican authorities using the website links.”

Walter Roban, the Shadow Minister of National Security, has previously called on the public and Government to assist with those affected by last week’s deadly storm.

Mr Roban said last Friday: “The PLP extends well wishes and prayers to Prime Minister Roosevelt Skerritt and the Government of Dominica and all the affected families and communities of our CARICOM partner. We also extend the same feelings to Dominicans residing here in Bermuda whose families may have been effected.

“We call on the Government of Bermuda to enquire officially with the Government of Dominica how Bermuda can provide support in any way to the Dominican people. Members of the public are encouraged to also check with relief agencies such as the Red Cross or The West Indian Association of Bermuda to find out how they might help.”

Meanwhile former United Bermuda Party minister Quinton Edness urged Government to put up a sum of money and urge the public to match it. He also said the public should work together to fill containers of supplies which might be able to assist those affected by the devastating storm

“We know that things are hard but I think we can and should assist them,” said Mr Edness. “We know that many people will have to rebuild their homes, but in the meantime they will need beds, bed linens and clothing. I’m confident we could fill a container or two and send it down to them in order to help them out.

“I know Bermuda is having a hard time, quite substantially in some cases, but I believe we can still dig down deep and help the people of Dominica.”