Published: Sun, September 24, 2017
Global News | By Stacy Ballard

PM Skerrit urges unity, courage as Dominica seeks to rebuild

PM Skerrit urges unity, courage as Dominica seeks to rebuild

Seven people have so far been confirmed dead as a result of Hurricane Maria's direct hit on Dominica on Monday night, but there are fears that death toll could rise as officials get into communities that have not yet been reached.

At least 14 people were killed in Dominica as the storm barrelled over the island. "So even if the ports of entry are functional, the movement of people across the island is severely restricted".

Puerto Rico was already battling risky floods after Hurricane Maria ravaged the island early Wednesday.

"It is my hope that we do not have any more deaths".

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Roosevelt Skerrit, prime minister of the devastated island, said that damage is unlike anything the country has seen before.

Dominica's Prime Minister Roosevelt Skeritt during an interview yesterday with ABS television in Antigua where he disclosed that he too was left homeless by Hurricane Maria.

"Right now our efforts are to make sure we have everybody safe, that we can rescue people".

But forecasters say some strengthening is in the forecast and Maria could again become a major hurricane by Thursday. His preoccupation at that time, he said, was with people in more vulnerable communities, because he knew if his roof was gone, it would be worse elsewhere. The island's hospital is without electricity and because of flooding the use of a generator has not been possible to-date.

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On Tuesday the executive director of the Barbados based Caribbean Disaster Emergency Management Agency (CDEMA) Ronald Jackson said that based on historical knowledge of Dominica and the fact that the eye of storm swept across the island from southeast to northwest, there would be "billions of dollars" in damage, with virtually every one of the estimated 70,000 population directly or indirectly impacted.

Mitchell recently returned from the Turks and Caicos and several Islands in the Bahamas that were affected by Hurricane Irma last week.

After devastating Puerto Rico, the storm headed west toward the Dominican Republic where it damaged almost 5,000 homes and caused more than 18,000 people to evacuate, according to a statement by the office of president Danilo Medina. All available public buildings are being used as shelters; with very limited roofing materials evident. The Red Cross also planned to begin an aid operation on Thursday.

"I am very concerned", Edwards said.

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