Dominica’s Office of Disaster Management has said the nine communities declared special disaster areas are still vulnerable to flooding three weeks after the passage of Tropical Storm Erika.
Programme Officer Steve Joseph told the Government Information Service (GIS) this week that residents should remain on guard, given the high saturation levels of the soil following the storm and subsequent tropical waves.
“We continue to inform the public of the risks which exist especially in communities already compromised. There are nine special disaster areas and other critical areas which have already been impacted,” he said. “We are hoping that people remain tuned to the radio and any source of [reliable] information so that threatening events do not catch them in dangerous areas.”
He named the western village of Coulibistrie which is still heavily silted and could “easily be flooded again”.
Joseph called on residents to heed advisories and move early to safer ground in the event of any further threat.
Meanwhile environmental health officials are raising concerns over suspected cases of leptospirosis following the passage of the storm.
Leptospirosis is a serious preventable bacterial disease most often transmitted to humans who are exposed to the urine of rats, dogs and other mammals.
Chief Environmental Health Officer Anthony Scotland said conditions were favourable for breeding and transmission of deadly diseases following the passage of the storm, which left havoc in its wake.
“We have three suspected cases of leptospirosis and the officers are basically out there investigating the cases and to see how we can put some control measures in place to prevent the spread of that disease,” Scotland said in an interview on state-owned DBS Radio.
Symptoms of leptospirosis include fever, chills, sudden headaches, nausea and vomiting, loss of appetite, muscle pain particularly in the muscles in the calves and lower back.