Scene of destruction in St. Martin

Minister for National Security, Rayburn Blackmoore, has revealed that the government, in collaboration with “large groups” of Private Sector companies and the Dominica Export Import Authority (DEXIA), is putting together four twenty-foot containers of relief supplies for Hurricane Irma affected St. Martin, Anguilla and British Virgin Islands (BVI).

Speaking at a press conference on September 11, at the Financial Centre, Blackmoore said that the government has contracted boat owners from Portsmouth to facilitate the transportation of the supplies and they will leave Dominica no later than the evening of Tuesday September 12th 2017.

“St. Martin was very, very quick in responding to us when we experienced the monster Tropical Storm Erika. Bearing in mind also that we have a significant Dominican population in both the French and Dutch sides, so we are moving with quick dispatch, starting tomorrow, to transport two containers of dry goods and water,” he said.

Blackmoore noted that these initiatives are all in an effort to “touch the lives of our friends in St. Martin, Tortola and Anguilla.”

Disaster Risk Management Consultant, Cecil Shillingford, stated that two containers will be going to St. Martin: are one with dry goods and the other with just water. Tortola and Anguilla, he said, will be receiving one container each mixed with dry goods and water.

“This is just the initial shipment. For that shipment we are looking specifically at food ready to eat, for dry goods, so some of the things like ketchup, and pepper and salt, we are leaving that out just for the while and as we move forward we can move into these areas,” he said.

He noted that the “barging of water” is of key importance both for drinking and sanitation, and the government is looking at that possibility to add to the amount of relief efforts being provided.

The shipment of water to the affected islands will be sourced by local companies who produce water and those who bring in water “to get as much water as possible,” according to Shillingford.

“As a matter of fact, the two producers of water are working overtime right now to provide the government of Dominica with the amount of water that is needed,” he said.

Shillingford has also revealed that an appeal fund account has been made at the National Bank of Dominica (NBD) for local, regional and international persons who would like to donate.

The account is titled ‘The Government of Dominica Hurricane Irma Relief Fund,’ with account number 615000493, and a press release with more information will be made available to the media subsequently.

“As we move forward, we will also look at other ways we can assist the people of Dominica in providing relief to the people of this stricken area,” he remarked.

Meanwhile, Prime Minister Roosevelt Skerrit said one of the matters that was discussed at the CARICOM meeting on Saturday is the issue of Dominica supplying bulk water to Anguilla, St Maarten/St Martin and the BVI, Tortola.

“Now we are looking at the possibility of using barges to get these inflated containers placed on the barges fill it up with water and have it transported to these islands,” he said.

“We are working with CARICOM on this,” he stated.

He mentioned that Dominica itself is exploring with other countries and CARICOM, through the secretary general, to see whether they can have these barges.

“There are some barges available, what we need now are the containers, the containers to fill up with water, so that on an ongoing basis we would be in a position to supply drinking water to these countries in bulk,” he noted.

Another suggestion he said is to have a water tanker, “that we could all make a contribution towards purchasing.”

He said that tanker can be used when water is needed by different countries.