ROSEAU, Dominica, Monday August 31, 2015 – Government has ordered the evacuation of Petite Savanne, a village on the southeast of the island that was the worst hit by Tropical Storm Erika.
Five more bodies were found there yesterday, bringing the death toll from the storm to 25.
Petite Savanne was among nine areas that Prime Minister Roosevelt Skerrit designated special disaster areas.
The government said priority consideration in the evacuation effort would be given to children, elderly and the physically challenged.
Family members in the capital Roseau and its environs have been asked to take in evacuated residents. Petite Savanne residents who have no family to take them in will be accommodated at the Dominica Grammar School.
Several other people are still missing and hundreds have been left homeless after the heavy rains from Erika caused flooding and landslides and collapsed several roads, bridges and buildings.
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While aid has been arriving in the country, the immediate relief effort has been made more difficult by the fact that there are still communities that cannot be reached.
Additionally, the main airport, the Douglas-Charles Airport, has been severely damaged posing further difficulty with access to and from the island.
Prime Minister Roosevelt Skerrit yesterday announced that he had appointed Baroness Patricia Scotland – the youngest and first Black woman to be appointed Queen Counsel in the United Kingdom and one of the current candidates for Commonwealth Secretary General – the international coordinator of the country’s relief effort.
He said he believes that the prestige Baroness Scotland commands internationally, and, her vast range of high level contacts, will be brought to bear to the benefit of Dominicans in this time of extreme need.
The Dominican national has already begun the task of mobilizing international support and her efforts will be in parallel with the work of the National Reconstruction Advisory Committee.