September 4, 20152181Views
Wednesday, September 2– The Government of the Virgin Islands and several local businesses and agencies are collaborating to support the Dominica response and relief efforts.
Tropical Storm Erika, the fifth named storm of the 2015 Atlantic Hurricane Season, impacted the Commonwealth of Dominica on Thursday August 27, 2015 causing severe flooding, landslides and widespread damage across the island.  A weather station at Canefield airport recorded 12.64 inches of rain in a 12 hour period resulting in flash flooding throughout the island. 
Reports from the Dominica Emergency Operations centre on August 30 indicated a confirmed death toll of eleven persons with at least 35 persons still missing.  More than 7,200 persons have been directly impacted; 574 persons are now homeless, 300 were evacuated from their homes and 267 persons are in shelters.  The destruction caused by Erika resulted in communications being hampered, communities being cut off due to damaged bridges and roadways, disruption to electricity and water supplies and significant agricultural losses.  Dominica’s Prime Minister, The Honourable Roosevelt Skerrit also declared nine “Special Disaster Areas” in the country on August 29.
The Caribbean Disaster Emergency Response Agency (CDEMA) Coordinating Unit in Barbados has activated the Regional Response Mechanism through which a number of Caribbean Governments have provided or pledged support to Dominica.  The Government of the Virgin Islands, through the Department of Disaster Management is assisting the national coordination efforts.
Deputy Director of the Department of Disaster Management, Ms. Evangeline Inniss said the department’s director Sharleen DaBreo has been assisting the Pan American Health Organisation (PAHO) with the development of impact reports and funding proposals which are critical at this time.  She added that Community Relations Officer and trained logistician Mr. Cecil Jeffrey was deployed to Dominica on August 31 to help establish the health distribution system and to support the national coordination efforts for supplies that are being donated from other countries to Dominica. 
Ms. Inniss further stated that the CDEMA Coordinating Unit requested support for the Dominica Emergency Operations Centre and arrangements are being made to deploy additional DDM officers in the coming week.  In addition, the Ministry of Health has also been supporting requests coming from PAHO mechanisms and arrangements are being made to dispatch items identified in the Medical Needs List.  
Health Disaster Coordinator, Dr. Ronald Georges said, “Dominica has requested medical professionals in the areas of anesthesiology, pathology, midwifery as well as skilled nurses in dialysis and accident and emergency care.  These skills sets have been identified and we are in discussions with PAHO to deploy the personnel once the necessary local arrangements are completed.”
Rotary and Rotaract Clubs in the BVI have joined with Dominican nationals and the BVI Red Cross to support the community needs in Dominica in by launching an appeal for supplies which will be transported to Dominica by Wednesday, October 2 via Tropical Shipping and Island Birds. 
BVI Rotary Assistant Governor, Delma Maduro said assisting with community needs whether locally, regionally or globally is a major objective of Rotary International and providing disaster relief in critical times such as this is a natural response by the BVI Rotary Family.  She added that we are blessed to live in a community that is generous and supportive of calls for assistance as can be seen from this effort as well as with previous relief efforts for the 2013 floods in St. Vincent and the 2010 Haiti earthquake in Haiti. 
Melville Hall and Canefield airports suffered significant damage, with only Canefield airport operational for helicopter and small aircraft use.  The sea ports remain functional and ferry services to the island are available from Antigua, Guadeloupe, Martinique and Saint Lucia.
DDM continues to work with CDEMA and PAHO to support the relief efforts.
Note to Editors:
Photo Caption 1- Rotary relief drive at Rite Way in East End.  Photo Credit: Rotary Club of Road Town.
Photo Caption 2 – Mr Cecil Jeffrey trains national logistics team to support relief distribution in Dominica.  Photo Credit: Pan American Health Organisation 
Photo Caption 3 – PAHO Regional Advisor, Dr Dana Van Alphen in discussion with shelterees in Dominica.  Photo Credit: Pan American Health Organisation