Tormenta Erika: emergencia en Puerto Rico y buscan desaparecidos en Dominica

Gobernador declara estado de emergencia en ocho municipios

El gobernador Alejandro García Padilla declaró estado de emergencia en los municipios de Maricao, Adjuntas, Jayuya, Yauco, Ponce, Utuado, Las Marías y Lares, debido a los daños ocasionados por la tormenta tropical Erika durante su paso al sur de Puerto Rico.

La declaración está contenida en una orden ejecutiva firmada este martes, luego de un recorrido que hizo García Padilla por el municipio de Jayuya, uno de los pueblos más impactados los vientos y lluvia asociado a la tormenta.

En ese pueblo, según informó La Fortaleza, el gobernador visitó varias residencias, cuya infraestructura reflejaban el embate del fenómeno atmosférico. Sobre una veintena de hogares quedaron sin techo y las pérdidas en las cosechas de plátano y guineo sobrepasan el 90%, mientras que en los cultivos de café se han estimado pérdidas de un 40 a un 50%, según el Departamento de Agricultura.

Los municipios declarados en estado de emergencia se afectaron por inundaciones, ríos fuera de su cauce y deslizamientos de terreno. Además, se registraron daños en el sistema eléctrico, pluvial, carreteras y viviendas.

La magnitud de estos daños ha requerido una colaboración interagencial de mitigación y la coordinación de recursos estatales y municipales para proteger la vida y la propiedad de los residentes de la zona, agrega una comunicación de la Oficina del Gobernador.

“Con la firma de esta orden, se le ordena a la Autoridad Estatal de Manejo de Emergencias y Administración de Desastres, que en coordinación las agencias gubernamentales pertinentes, se identifiquen todos los recursos necesarios para brindar atención prioritaria a las situaciones identificadas en estos municipios, de forma que se pueda lograr la más pronta recuperación y estabilización de los servicios que necesitan los residentes”, lee el documento.

Primera Hora

Search continues for missing people as rescue operations continue

Prime Minister Roosevelt Skerrit Monday met with Opposition Leader Lennox Linton and several business leaders as Dominica continued the process of rebuilding after Tropical Storm Erika last week caused widespread damage and several deaths.

At least 25 people have been confirmed dead and the search is continuing for several others presumed dead.

The authorities said while electricity, water and telecommunication services were being restored, many areas and villages remain cut off as a result of the damages to the road infrastructure. In many places, such as Petite Savanne, south east where most of the deaths occurred, the only way to access the area is by boat.

The government has ordered an evacuation of Petite Savanne for fear of further deaths and damages as a result of the passage of other weather systems in the coming days and National Security Minister Rayburn Blackmoore said a Venezuelan shiphas docked here and will assist in the evacuation and rescue operations in Petite Savanne. The ship can hold a capacity of 100 people.

St. Kitts-Nevis Monday became the latest Caribbean Community (CARICOM) to pledge financial assistance to Dominica with the Timothy Harris administration noting that the one million dollar (One EC dollar =US$=0.37 cents) humanitarian relief package will assist the island in its recovery.

The Barbados-based Caribbean Disaster Emergency Management Agency (CDEMA) said the fifth named storm of the 2015 Atlantic Hurricane Season had dumped several inches of rain on the island with the capital, Roseau, experiencing more than 12 inches over a 12 hour period.

“Through the Regional Response Mechanism (RRM) support for the immediate needs identified at this time continues. These include Emergency Operations Support, search, rescue and recovery efforts. Additionally, the RRM is also addressing the needs request for civil and geo-technical engineers to support assessment of soil, roads and bridges,” CDEMA said in its latest post on its website.

CDEMA, which is coordinating the RRM and providing direct support to Dominica, said various Caribbean and international countries, such as the United States, the United Kingdom and Europe, have already pledged assistance.

The Jamaica-based Sandals Foundation, the non-profit arm of Sandals Resorts International has launched a fundraising campaign involving the tens of thousands of guests staying at Sandals and Beaches resorts as well as online donations through the Sandals Foundation webpage.

“Thankfully, the nine islands in which we operate our resorts were unscathed by Tropical Storm Erika but tragically the same was not true of our Caribbean neighbours in Dominica who have suffered great loss; both of life and infrastructure,” said President of the Sandals Foundation and chief executive officer, Adam Stewart.

“We know firsthand how badly natural disasters can affect a nation and we will be doing all we can to help the people of Dominica to recover as quickly as possible and we urge our corporate partners to play their part too.”

On Monday, Britain’s International Development Secretary Justine Greening, said the Royal Fleet Auxiliary (RFA) Lyme Bay has been rerouted to assist humanitarian relief efforts in Dominica.

The British ship is carrying a range of disaster relief stores including bedding, shelter, torches and stretchers, as well as a Lynx Mk 8 helicopter and considerable supplies of fresh water.

“It is clear that Dominica has borne the brunt of this storm, with a number of deaths already confirmed and hundreds of people made homeless. Roads, bridges and health clinics have been affected and large parts of the island are without water and electricity.

“Part of RFA Lyme Bay’s tasking is to respond to just this sort of emergency and the ship is already en route to assist with relief efforts. As well as essential supplies and helicopter support, the ship can also provide vital expertise to help clean-up operations and recovery efforts,” she said.

The British High Commissioner to Barbados and the Eastern Caribbean, Victoria Dean, said London is “very saddened” by the devastation that this tropical storm has had on Dominica.

“The UK Government is working hard to offer the very best support we can. Our Department for International Development (DFID) has already committed £300,000 in immediate humanitarian aid and I’m very pleased that a British Government ship, RFA Lyme Bay, is on its way now to Dominica with further emergency supplies and expertise. Our thoughts and prayers are with all Dominicans,” the diplomat said.

Meanwhile, the chief executive officer of the Dominica Air and Seaport Authority (DASPA), Benoit Bardouille, said that the regional airline LIAT has agreed to increase the number of flights into the French island of Guadeloupe so as to allow connecting passengers to Dominica to have access to the ferry service on L’express Des Isles.

He told radio listeners that the airline had also agreed to reduce the cost of the travel tickets from Guadeloupe from Euro 99 to Euro 60 (One Euro =US$.129 cents) per passenger.

Bardouille also said that another airline, WINAIR is operating a service from St. Maarten to Canefield airport, on the outskirts of the capital.

Antigua Observer

St. Lucia Prime Minister visits

St. Lucia’s Prime Minister Dr. Kenny Anthony en-route to hurricane damaged Dominica via helicopter earlier today.

As the region’s support for storm damaged Dominica continues, Prime Minister of St. Lucia Dr. Kenny Anthony flew into the country by helicopter today to meet with his Dominican counterpart, Hon. Roosevelt Skerrit and observe first hand the devastation caused by Tropical Storm Erika.

St. Lucia’s Prime Minister, Hon. Dr. Kenny D. Anthony being briefed by Dominica’s Prime Minister Hon. Roosevelt Skerrit in preparation for an aerial tour of the tropical storm damage.

Dr. Anthony pledged to mobilise support locally, regionally and internationally to assist the rebuilding effort.

A release from his office said:

“The Government of Saint Lucia was swift to respond to the plight of its Caribbean neighbour. The Royal Saint Lucia Police Force despatched a team to support the Dominica police, with supplies from the National Emergency Management Organisation (NEMO) and the Ministry of Health. NEMO has also been spearheading the drive to gather supplies for Dominica.

NEMO headquarters in Bisee, as well as Post Offices around Saint Lucia have been designated as drop off locations for relief items.

Dr. Anthony travelled to Dominica via a Trinidad and Tobago National Guard helicopter at approximately 11:00 a.m. and is expected to return at about 4:00 p.m.

Dr. Anthony is accompanied by Press Secretary, Mrs. Jadia Jn. Pierre-Emmanuel and Mr. Cameron Browne, technician in the Office of the Prime Minister.

Caricom Today