As Dominicans try to piece their lives together after a battering from Tropical Storm Erika, the Antigua & Barbuda has pledged its support to aid recovery efforts there.
Prime Minister Gaston Browne told OBSERVER media that while there has not been a formal request for help from the Dominican authorities, the nation is ready to assist.
“We have not had any specific requests from Dominica as yet. We are waiting to hear from them; we have given them a general commitment…,” Browne said. “Remember, too, they have to do a damage assessment and that’s going to take some time.”
Reports out of Dominica have confirmed that 14 people died after Erika unleashed 12 inches of rain there between Wednesday night and Thursday morning, and the number of those reported missing is increasing.
Dominican Prime Minister Roosevelt Skerrit has described the damage caused by the storm as “a disaster of epic proportions”.
Meantime, the OECS Commission is engaging with regional and international agencies to undertake a comprehensive assessment of the effects of Tropical Storm Erika on Dominica.
In a release, the directorate of the OECS Commission said it is very concerned about the situation in Dominica and is communicating with heads of other OECS Member States, the international donor community and organisations to ensure the best possible actions as the country seeks to rebuild.
“As small island states, we have common vulnerabilities to climatic issues and weather systems which impact on all our member states and, although limited in our own resources, we are strengthening our response to Dominica through dialogue towards a coordinated response from agencies such as National Emergency Management Organsations, CEDEMA, ECLAC and USAID,” the release said.
Meantime, Caricom Secretary General Ambassador Irwin LaRocque has sent the Community’s sympathies to the country.
He expressed confidence in the strength and resilience of the Dominican people to overcome their personal tragedies, and to work with the government to reconstruct their communities, infrastructure and economy.
“Through the coordinating efforts of the Caribbean Disaster Emergency Management Agency (CDEMA) and Member States, we will assist with the damage and needs assessment process which we know is critical to mobilising the required support for the reconstruction effort,” Ambassador LaRocque said.
He also pledges Caricom’s full backing for the recovery effort.
As other regional governments mull ways to support the people of Dominica, a team from the French Caribbean islands has joined rescue efforts and teams from Trinidad and Venezuela have already been deployed to the country.
Yesterday, the Government of the Commonwealth of Dominica announced that it has established an account at the Eastern Caribbean Central Bank to receive contributions in support of its recovery and reconstruction efforts following the passage of Tropical Storm Erika.