Relief efforts on the devastated storm-hit island of Dominica are being boosted by Geest Line, the premier cargo shipping company between Europe and the Caribbean.
Tropical Storm Erika caused flooding and at least 200 landslides that left over 20 people dead, many missing and annihilated road links and communications to such an extent that the island’s Prime Minister Roosevelt Skerrit appealed for international aid.
Geest Line, which has linked the UK and the Caribbean for more than 60 years, is shipping free of charge aid relief, such as plastic barrels, blankets and water to Dominica.
The company’s Managing Director, Captain Peter Dixon, said: “It has been heartbreaking to see the death and destruction on Dominica, an island with whose people we work very closely on a daily basis.
“After discussions with the Dominica High Commission in London we pledged to offer any help we could with relief efforts and rebuilding and, as a result, MV Klipper Stream will be sailing from Portsmouth on September 8 with supplies. We have also made a donation to the relief effort.
“We are grateful that MMD (Shipping Services) Ltd, based at Portsmouth International Port, have waived their costs in recognition of our efforts and to support the cause.”
Klipper Stream, one of Geest Line’s four vessels, has clocked up 920,000 miles on 100 voyages from Europe to the Caribbean. She is due to arrive in Dominica’s capital Roseau on September 22 to be met by Geest’s agents there Whitchurch.
Geest Line, which carries more cargo between Europe and the Windward and Leeward islands than any other shipping line, will also be loading a second ship, MV Agulhas Stream, with relief supplies to depart from Portsmouth week commencing September 21.
Tropical Storm Erika, one of the deadliest natural disasters to hit Dominica since Hurricane David in 1979, swept through the island on August 27, dumping more than 12 inches of rain in six hours to destroy infrastructure and cut off communities.
A disaster area was declared with homes flattened, bridges washed away, roads destroyed, the airport terminal flooded, aircraft and cars swept away, agricultural land rendered useless and severe environmental damage.
The government of this island nation, independent and a republic since 1978, says tens of millions of pounds of damage has been done and development set back by 20 years.