At least 500 people were reported killed in Haiti, CARICOM’s only French-speaking country, as the Category 4 storm tore through the nation on its way to causing damage to the Bahamas, where so far there are no reported deaths.
The hurricane, the strongest in the Caribbean for a decade, destroyed homes, bridges and other infrastructure in Haiti, which is also battling a cholera epidemic that killed more than 9,000 people and still recovering from the 2010 earthquake that killed in excess of 200,000 people.
In a radio broadcast Skerrit in which he called on the Dominica private sector to lead the fund raising efforts for the two CARICOM countries, Skerrit said he had also written to the heads of government of the two countries.
He recalled when Tropical Storm Erika struck Dominica killing more than 30 people and leaving millions of dollars in damage, Roseau was thankful for the support it received from other countries, including those in the region.
“We were in shock and did not have immediate answers to how we would rebound from this disaster. But the region and the world came to our assistance and with that support we were able to get up, dust ourselves off and start the rebuilding of our beautiful island.
“Today, the people of two sister Caribbean countries, in particular Haiti…are in a similar situation and in the case of Haiti, far worse as the death toll from the ravages of Hurricane Matthew…is expected to rise,” he said.
He said he is moved as prime minister to “step in and help however we can in minimising the suffering of the people of Haiti and the Bahamas in the first instance as Hurricane Matthew is still an active system impacting Florida’s east coast at this hour.”.
Skerrit said he does not want to delay Dominica’s response to the tragedy and “I feel as a grateful people we have a duty to respond without request”.
He said he was appealing to business places here, given the fact that many households here are still recovering from the Tropical Storm Erika. He said the government would meet the cost of shipping the relief material to the affected Caribbean countries.
“I would like for us as a nation to give ourselves one week from today to dispatch supplies to these hurricane ravaged countries,” he said, adding “I have already dispatched letters to the leaders of Haiti and the Bahamas assuring them of our thoughts and prayers at this time and pledging whatever assistance we can in this their hour of need”.
- Countries: CARICOM