Dominica declares state of emergency

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The government of Dominica has declared a state of emergency and overnight curfews, following the damage caused by Hurricane Maria, said Dr. Didacus Jules, director general of the Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS).
“As can you imagine, given the extent of the devastation, it is going to be very important to ensure a state of good order is maintained,” he said, in an interview with OBSERVER media yesterday. He was speaking on behalf of Roosevelt Skerrit, prime minister of Dominica.
Dr. Jules added that immediate relief is under way for the nature-isle that was brutally hit by Maria.
“We know that this morning, a group of Rapid Survival System (RSS) personnel [in] a coast guard vessel got into Dominica at 10:30 a.m. The team included persons from the Pan American Health Organization and the Barbados Defence Force,” he said.
“We have a military plane from Venezuela with 25 disaster search and recovery personnel. There is also going to be a plane loaded with tons of supplies arriving in St Lucia, which is being used as a staging point for Caribbean Disaster Emergency Management Authority’s support to Dominica.”
The director general added that a helicopter will also be provided, to ferry relief supplies from central bases to the locations in Dominica that may require immediate attention, as well as, the movement of wounded and injured persons.
He said the feedback from persons who have already arrived in Dominica is that the scale of the devastation is much worse than they had imagined. Hence there is a need for back-up personnel.
In the meantime, Prime Minister Gaston Browne has pledged that Antigua and Barbuda will stand in solidarity with Dominica in their time of disaster.
 “I had the opportunity to give him [Roosevelt Skerrit], every assurance that the government and the people of Antigua and Barbuda will be standing with the Commonwealth of Dominica,” said Browne.
“Even though we have our own challenge here, we have to share. The scale crisis in Dominica is far greater than Barbuda. In Barbuda, we had to deal with 1,800 people. In Dominica it is over 80,000.”
The National Office of Disaster Services (NODS), which is mandated to carry out relief efforts on behalf of the nation, is deploying a delegation of 22 medical support, fire and defence force staff to Dominica today. They are taking supplies, including blankets, water and hygiene kits.

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