Skerrit: Damage extensive but Dominica will rebuild
PRIME MINISTER of Dominica Roosevelt Skerrit says the damage caused by Tropical Storm Erika may have set the country’s development back by 20 years.
And he is calling for all hands on deck as rebuilding efforts begin.
Erika hit the island on Thursday and caused extensive damage across the island after floods swamped villages, destroyed homes and wiped out roads.
However, as reported by Dominica News Online, Skerrit told the nation the loss of life is of greatest concern.
“So far we can confirm that at least 20 citizens have died, and some are missing. This is heart wrenching! I give you my pledge that we shall not cease until contact is made with every community and a full account is given of every single missing person,” Skerrit stated during a national address.
“We shall rebuild Dominica in honour of those who lost their lives in this particular tragedy,” he promised. “In the hours and days ahead, respective parliamentary representatives will be meeting with families to discuss and formalise arrangements for burial of those who succumbed, as well as to help provide adequate care for the injured.
Skerrit said the widespread damage to highways, bridges and roads that he had seen during an aerial tour of the island on Friday, sounded a call to rebuild the country.
“We have, in essence, to rebuild Dominica! The visual damage I saw today, I fear, may have set our development process back by 20 years. I will not attempt tonight to affix a dollar value, but it is substantial,” he noted.
He called the disaster “a national tragedy that requires us to forget political affiliation and other differences that divide us and to make a united effort to relieve suffering and rebuild Dominica,” and urged to every Dominican to “reach out to your neighbours, find out what their needs are, and share whatever resources you have with them.”
He further called for the national response to this disaster to be “a new beginning for Dominica” and for Dominicans to treat the devastation of Tropical Storm Erika as a wake-up call to do things differently.
“As the Prime Minister of the Commonwealth of Dominica I want to start the process of reconciliation for reconstruction. I cannot do this alone! My Ministers and Parliamentary Colleagues cannot do this alone. We need to unite, my brothers and sisters,” the Prime Minister urged.
He said he had invited all 21 Elected Parliamentarians to form the national reconstruction advisory committee and to attend a special meeting of the Cabinet of Ministers on Saturday morning to chart the path forward for the recovery of Dominica “from this terrible disaster.”
“Tomorrow, I want us to sit as patriots to draw up a strategy for relieving immediate suffering, rebuilding our homes and infrastructure, diversifying our economy, and generating the wealth to improve the standard of living and quality of life of our people. Dominicans we can do this! Dominicans, we must do this! Dominicans we shall rebuild Dominica,” Skerrit urged.
The prime minister said he intends to visit every single constituency in the days ahead and parliamentary representatives will formulate strategies to relieving Dominican’s pain and anxiety. (Dominica News Online/NB)