A National Tragedy in Dominica

Erika devastates the island

By the Caribbean Journal staff

While much of the region escaped Tropical Storm Erika, the storm simply devastated the island of Dominica.

The country is reporting 20 deaths from the storm, with more missing, according to Prime Minister Roosevelt Skerrit.

And the damage to roads and infrastructure was also significant, from swamped villages to destroyed homes.

“The extent of the devastation is monumental,” he said. “It is far worse than expected. It is true that many communities like Petite Savanne, Delices and Coulibistrie have been swamped and are still cut off from the rest of Dominica, but nearly every community has been hit.”

“The visual damage I saw today, I fear, may have set our development process back by 20 years,” Skerrit said. “I will not attempt tonight to affix a dollar value, but it is substantial.”

Skerrit said there was evidence of “widespread damage to highways, complete bridges have washed away.”

“Motorized access to several communities has been considerably reduced and in some instances has vanished altogether,” he said. “We have, in essence, to rebuild Dominica.”

The country will likely be able to find help, however; many of its regional neighbours have offered generous support in the immediate aftermath.

But rebuilding Dominica will take time, and funding. And it will be an uphill climb.

“But we all have to pull ourselves together and steady ourselves to ensure that we weather this storm and rebound as a nation in rapid time,” he said.

The country has quickly established a Recovery and Reconstruction fund. Those looking to contribute can find more information here.


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