Five communities in Dominica remain inaccessible on day six of rescue and recovery efforts following the ravages of Tropical Storm Erika.
However, the head of the Caribbean Disaster Emergency Management Agency (CDEMA) declared tonight that operations were “progressing quite positively.”
Executive Director Roland Jackson told Barbados TODAY that the agency and its 100 strong contingent of field officers on the ground were hoping that with the arrival of a British navy ship, access to these communities would improve.
“The British ship Lyme Bay docked this morning with quite a bit of equipment and personnel, which we requested through the British Government. They will be helping to ramp up the operations on the ground especially with the helicopter that they have.
“We have had a bit of a challenge with going into some of the communities, though on the ground most of the communities are now accessible save except five, and we are hoping that the helicopter on board the British vessel will be able to assist us, in continuing any relief drops that are required for these five communities,” he said.
Jackson also revealed that emergency shelters were fully activated and everything was being done to accommodate residents in need of housing.
“We know now that there are roughly over two hundred plus person in emergency shelters and the shelter support for those individuals have commenced and will continue until we get in to the recovery phase which will then see the potential for some re-housing or transitional housing solutions provided for these individuals,” he added.
He explained that teams had been out and about conducting most of the damage and needs assessments and officers were making significant headway.
However, despite the arrival of Venezuela military aircraft late last night, the Douglas-Charles Airport remains closed
to commercial flights but can accept emergency flights.
“The runway itself is now cleared, the power to the main building is restored. There are some works going on to address some electrical problems to the tower which is not yet taking commercial flights going in. They have repaired the weather station which is important for flights coming in as well but there is an anticipation that they will be able to resolve some of the issues with the tower shortly.”
Jackson is hoping that this progress would begin to shift focus to the recovery and reconstruction phase during the coming days.
“Next week maybe Monday or going into that week so that we can begin to look at the priorities now for recovery and reconstruction but things are progressing quite positively,” Jackson explained.