Venezuela promises 300 homes for Dominica storm victims; president Maduro to visit

skerrit maduro

Venezuela’s president Nicolás Maduro (right), in this file photo with Dominica Prime Minister Roosevelt Skerrit at the ALBA summit earlier this year, will visit the storm-hit island over the weekend.

ROSEAU, Dominica, Wednesday September 16, 2015 – Venezuela’s president Nicolás Maduro is due to visit Dominica this weekend as his government announced it would provide 300 houses for people affected by Tropical Storm Erika.

Prime Minister Roosevelt Skerrit said Dominica has accepted the offer.

“The Venezuelans brought in over the weekend one such structure to be erected, because we expect the President of Venezuela to come to Dominica on Saturday where he will have the symbolic handing over of this one home and, of course, making a pronouncement on the 300 homes for those affected by Tropical Storm Erika,” he said.

“We expect the first 50 homes will be here in the next couple weeks and the Ministry of Housing . . . will advise the Cabinet on where we go about erecting those homes so we are trying to move as quickly as possible.”

Skerrit made the announcement as he also disclosed that government was relocating 94 people, currently living in shelters since Erika’s rains caused flooding and landslides in some communities, to more comfortable accommodation.

“We are in discussions with some private property owners, some guest houses, who all have indicated their willingness to help accommodate those residents, albeit at a cost, and the State will cover the costs associated with housing and food . . . at those guest houses. We are hoping that we can finalize the costs with two of the properties. One has been finalized in terms of what the person is demanding and what the government has agreed to pay and the two others . . . they will send us a proposal so that Cabinet would be in a position to ratify the approval of the Minister of Finance in respect to that,” he explained.

“We will be discussing with the community, with the residents, the 94 of them, to see how we will go about assigning them to different properties, taking a number of variables into consideration and not wanting to split families and so forth.”

The group is currently being housed at the Grammar School and Skerrit said it was time to provide them with more comfort and privacy.

“The same approach is being looked at in respect to the residents of Dubique and also some families from Petite Savanne who stayed back in Grand Bay,” he said, adding that government was still finalizing sites for the permanent relocation of Dubique and Petite Savanne residents.

Skerrit said the required surveys are being done for those areas so that Cabinet can be advised on the most suitable location.

“We suspect that in the next few days we will be in a position to have an idea . . .”

The prime minister said the authorities were also making progress in accessing Petite Savanna to help residents recover property they wanted to salvage.

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