Tropical Storm Erika: Dominica declares disaster and seeks aid

TS_Erika (1)Associated Press reports that Dominica has declared disaster, with rescue teams working around the clock to reopen roads and find more missing people. (Although only 20 have been confirmed dead, with 50 missing, social media reports a higher number of deaths.) Venezuela, Martinique and Guadeloupe have sent in equipment for the rescue operations. To help with relief funds please go to http://www.gofundme.com/JBDominicaRelief.] Here is the report:

Rescue teams worked to reopen roads to remote communities in Dominica on Sunday after tropical storm Erika caused flooding and mudslides that killed at least 20 people and left more than 50 missing on the Caribbean island. “Access by road to these communities is impossible,” said the prime minister, Roosevelt Skerrit. These towns “are cut off from the rest of the country”.

In a national address late on Saturday, Skerrit declared disaster status for nine local areas.

On Sunday the government ordered about 1000 inhabitants to evacuate from the small town of Petite-Savanne, fearing new landslides. Erika whipped the island for more than five hours on Wednesday, bringing strong winds and intense rain that provoked flooding and landslides. Hundreds of homes were destroyed.

Crews were using heavy equipment sent by the governments of Venezuela, Martinique and Guadeloupe. Hundreds of men worked on Sunday to reopen the country’s main airport, Skerrit said.

Skerrit appealed for international aid and estimated that damage from the storm could set the country’s development back two decades.

In Haiti the storm killed at least one person in a suspected landslide. Four others died when a truck hit a bus during the downpour.

For original report and video, see http://www.theguardian.com/world/2015/aug/31/tropical-storm-erika-dominica-declares-disaster-status-and-appeals-for-aid

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