Dominica: PM Roosevelt Skerrit outlines preparedness for upcoming Hurricane Sesaon

PM Skerrit said that Dominica remains vulnerable to the disasters such as Tropicals and Hurricanes as a nation the government must renew its efforts to strengthen its systems to protect the citizens.

PM Roosevelt Skerrit shares update on Dominica's preparedness for 2022 Hurricane Season
PM Roosevelt Skerrit shares update on Dominica's preparedness for 2022 Hurricane Season

Roseau, Dominica:  Prime Minister Dr Roosevelt Skerrit speak about the 2022 Hurricane Season that is approaching the Caribbean region in his latest edition of Annou Pale on Sunday, March 29, 2022. He stated that every Ist June, Hurricane Season begins and appeals to create and raise awareness to protect the lives of the people. 

PM Skerrit said that Dominica remains vulnerable to the disasters such as Tropicals and Hurricanes as a nation the government must renew its efforts to strengthen its systems to protect the citizens. He added, “Since 2017, we committed to building capacities as individuals, households, and community levels to position our country as the World’s first climate-resilient nation.”

Prime Minister Roosevelt Skerrit also talked about the commissioning of the two regional emergency shelters that happened last Wednesday in Castle Bruce and Jimmit. Around 300 people and 500 people in Castle Bruce and Jimmit will be benefited from the Hurricane Shelters. 

About two regional centres, PM Roosevelt Skerrit stated that these are self-contained facilities that could certainly house them for about two weeks with no well interruption after a severe storm and again he extended gratitude to the European Union for their tangible sincere support over the years and more particularly in the construction. 

“These are the real and practical steps we are taking to achieve our climate resilience goals. We are ensuring that people of our communities can access safe, clean, and well-equipped spaces in the event of major disasters,” underlined PM Skerrit. 

He quoted that the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration predicts fourteen to 21 name storms that this also includes three to six major hurricanes and from the experiences that it takes one only to make landfall in Dominica to leave fast devastation behind it. 

In the episode of the Annou Pale, Prime Minister Roosevelt Skerrit invited officer of the Disaster management Mandela Christina and the local government commissioner and chairman of the shelter committee Glenory Toussaint. 

Upon Hurricane Season, Mandela Christina asserted that the country will programme how they would manage these disasters for the next five years in Dominica. 

About CWP, he stated that it is a systematic approach to implementing climate change adaptation and disaster risk reduction in Dominica with the comprehensive disaster management audit that was completed in 2020 and as a part of that audit the country did a gap analysis of where the country is a strong ad where it has some weaknesses and the department would address or outlined these issues in the five-year programmes. 

Further, Prime Minister Roosevelt Skerrit talked about the Comprehensive Disaster Management Bill which will be presented in the cabinet very soon after facing some ratifications, and ask for the objective of the bill from Mandela

While answering, Christina outlined that under the bill quite a comprehensive programme is highlighted for implementing disaster reduction in Dominica over the next five years and also they have the ongoing resilience initiatives. 

“The legislation will enable us to implement the programme in the legal framework with which we can operate. So it outlined our governance mechanism in Dominica for disaster risk and reduction. So and particularly the Nepo mechanism through which we operate is a national emergency planning organization and it identifies the role of the government that address the different emergency support functions, “Christina added. 

He further explained with an example and asserted that this is an action for the national resilience development strategy and the climate-resilient and recovery plan and creed is sparing all these activities and achieve all these recovery targets and other actions are also evident in the resilient infrastructure such as homes that are being built across the island, the health and wellness centres and resilient schools, so all these are aligned to the resilience targets. 

Christina said that they are confident with the ability of various mechanisms the country reached a heightened state of the preparedness in terms of shelters capacity and various other mechanisms the country is doing more training and it has many volunteers. 

Upon the level of awareness among the Dominicans, Trussant asserted that the country has witnessed tremendous progress and after Maria, it has sort of integrated it into the work programme and in that regard, the country is working very closely in ensuring that the government work with the communities in enhancing and strengthening their capacity to respond to adverse weather events. 

He further stressed that the department has done an assessment of communities to identify the vulnerabilities and so able to communities into four categories, four areas speak: The most vulnerable, more vulnerable, least vulnerable and less vulnerable and so out of those four categories, the department came up with 13 most vulnerable communities, 28 more vulnerable communities, 11 least vulnerable communities and about 10 less vulnerable. 

Toussaint outlined their plans in phases and emphasized: 

  • First is and take into consideration the climate-resilient recovery plan (CRRP) 2020- 2030. One of the key pillars is that plan is strong communities and this refers to the ability to have the capacity to independently operates as it relates to and respond to disasters and other events that may impact the community and in order to build the capacity for the community of talking about training and awareness. 
  • Further, the government would consider the most vulnerable communities like Grant and Good Hope, Peter Sufier, Sansovior, Bischer, Baggatell and other areas. The government first spoke to them and identify the key institutions within those communities. 
  • The government will also look at the damage assessment and we assess the damage that would have occurred based on the impact and around 260 people have trained in the community. 

About various other climate-resilient projects, he mentioned: 

  • The government also have an intensive programme with the city of Roseau, where they are currently implementing a Roseau City initiative and a Roseau resilient plan. So the first one is to develop a Roseau City Plan, a resilient plan and the second is to develop a fire hazard plan for the city of Roseau and the third one is to develop standard operating procedures for an early warning system as it related to the city of Roseau and this is more so as it will raise to Roseau River that has flooded on numerous occasions.
  • Out of that, the country was able to establish to city resilient platform which is persons from the council and other stakeholders, the private sector and the platform or attention are not basically on sustainability. 
  • The process would also ensure that the city residents mix up almost one-third of the population and so it is important that the city residents themselves aware of the plan. 

Toussiant further mentioned that on Monday, the country had a national resilient consultation for local authorities and so all the local authorities, they met at the parish and they looked at a number of areas. 

Explaining how ODM building capacity is used to contend with various disaster events, Toussiant emphasized that the office of the disaster management is working to upgrade their hydro at the network and the project is ongoing through the DVRP. The office is also analyzing the volcano seismic monitoring because Dominica has one of the highest volcanic densities in the region

“We have nine lives in a square in our surface area and that doesn’t mean that they are erupting but there’s a potential, there is an activity other than there’s a potential for an eruption in the future and we saw what happened with Sufia Volcano just last year and learning from that experience we are determined to learn from their best practices here in Dominica, “he added. 

“The country has installed eight-station across the island aimed to achieve the goal to install sixteen stations across the island and even for Tusanmi hazards, the government is also working with UNESCO to get Dominica tsunami ready certified and which is an internationally accepted certification that means basically once they are tsunami certified then there will be a mechanism in place for early warning for evacuation persons.”

Upon the importance of the ODM to empower the citizens of the country, Christian stressed: 

  • We have a wide range of training that we offer at the community level from community emergency response team training or rescue, shelter management, damage assessment, and a number of other programmes to target the actual community persons. 
  • We are rolling out a training programme and interacting with other local and regional stakeholders to help provide certain resources or enhance certain infrastructure in the community to help strengthen their resilience. 

“We have made progress to mitigate the impact of the disasters as we have developed or established the district business management committees in the seven districts across Dominica and even in the Kalinago territory and so we have a full team right now, district teams and we are utilizing the resources at the district level to implement our programmes,” underscored Christian. 

Toussaint also called to implement mini NEPO to mitigate the impact.

Prime Minister Skerrit also asked for the basic checklist to put in place for Hurricane Season.  

  • Firstly, the country needs to ensure that they have some food supply, dry goods, and teen stuff, non-perishable food items that they could easily move with. The country needs to ensure that they have a safe place to stay, and the general suppliers, medication, and any other needs people are critical can’t at them. So people should have a stock of basic needs for about seven days. 
  • The country also has to ensure and check their roofs, and their windows, and in addition to that the people have to ensure the safety of their important documents such as certificates of title and medical records
  • People should always have hospital bags if they fall ill so they can treat themselves.