One of the regional countries that has stepped forward with financial aid, is St. Kitts and Nevis, which on Monday (31st August) announced that it has committed EC$1 million dollars to the government and people of Dominica.
This was confirmed in a release from the Dr. Timothy Harris led administration, indicating that the Cabinet of Ministers met in a special session on Friday (August 28) and addressed a number of matters, including how best to help the sister Caribbean island.
It explained that the Chairman of Cabinet, Prime Minister Dr. Timothy Harris, reported that he had spoken with Prime Minister Roosevelt Skerrit (of Dominica) who indicated that the island suffered significant loss of lives and monumental damage to private and public property and infrastructure.
It is said that while expressing condolences on behalf of the Government and people of St. Kitts and Nevis Harris also reiterated his country’s commitment to assist Dominica in its rebuilding efforts.
The death toll has risen to 20, but more than 50 people remain missing. Many of these are thought to have been victims of the massive flooding and resulting mudslides in communities throughout the mountainous territory.
Over 1,000 villagers from a district known as Petite Savanne were also being evacuated in recent days, over fears of more landslides. Many roads, bridges, private homes and businesses, along with numerous agricultural farms have been destroyed.
Prime Minister Skerrit says his country has been set back some 20 years.
In addition to the financial help, St. Kitts and Nevis, through non-government organizations and individuals have also shipped food and other supplies. A boat organized by the Rotary Club of Liamuiga travelled to Dominica over the weekend to deliver the much needed supplies.
Government say that members of their Defence Force are on standby to join any regional security team that may be needed to help assist local authorities.
Overall efforts from the St. Kitts and Nevis government are being coordinated by Senator Wendy Phipps, who is the country’s Junior Minister of Health.
National Disaster Coordinator, Carl Herbert, advised the government that the Caribbean Disaster Emergency Management Agency (CDEMA) was on a fact finding mission in Dominica and that Cabinet should await the determination of the felt needs of the people before responding with supplies. He said, however, that monetary contributions will be urgently needed to provide greater flexibility.
The impact of Tropical Storm Erika on the Federation of St. Kitts and Nevis was also outlined to Cabinet in a report received from Herbert, from the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA).
Tropical Storm Erika passed St. Kitts and Nevis on Thursday 27th August, with the center of storm passing some 75 miles south of the islands.
Herbert reported that current assessments indicate the storm caused relatively little harm. There was minor damage to several residential buildings and in that regard NEMA provided tarpaulin to be used as temporary cover. Public infrastructure was largely unaffected.
The agency is however awaiting an assessment of the impact on agriculture.