The Government of Trinidad and Tobago on Tuesday said it is mobilizing to send assistance to the Commonwealth of Dominica that was battered by a massive Category 5 Hurricane Maria late Monday.
In a statement early Tuesday, the Office of the Prime Minister said coordination is taking place under the leadership of the Office of the Prime Minister, Ministry of National Security and the Ministry of Foreign and Caricom Affairs.
“It is envisaged that as soon as it is safe, a National Helicopter Services Limited helicopter will be sent to Dominica with Trinidad and Tobago Defence Force personnel,” the release stated.
The Trinidad and Tobago Coast Guard is also preparing to send a supply vessel and to take Defence Force personnel as well as supplies up to Dominica.
The release added that later in the day on Tuesday, further announcements will be made as to where the public can drop off goods and supplies to be transported to assist the citizens of Dominica.
Meanwhile, the Prime Minister of Dominica Roosevelt Skerrit is calling for international aid even as he said his focus now “is in rescuing the trapped and securing medical assistance for the injured”.
Skerrit, who himself had to be “rescued” from his residence as Hurricane Maria, a Category 5 storm hit the island on Monday night, said that “initial reports are of widespread devastation.
“So far we have lost all what money can buy and replace. My greatest fear for the morning is that we will wake to news of serious physical injury and possible deaths as a result of likely landslides triggered by persistent rains.
“So, far the winds have swept away the roofs of almost every person I have spoken to or otherwise made contact with. The roof to my own official residence was among the first to go and this apparently triggered an avalanche of torn away roofs in the city and the countryside.”
He said on Tuesday, the authorities will “hit the road, as soon as the all clear is given, in search of the injured and those trapped in the rubble.
“I am honestly not preoccupied with physical damage at this time, because it is devastating…indeed, mind boggling. My focus now is in rescuing the trapped and securing medical assistance for the injured.
We will need help, my friends, we will need help of all kinds.
“It is too early to speak of the condition of the air and seaports, but I suspect both will be inoperable for a few days. That is why I am eager now to solicit the support of friendly nations and organisations with helicopter services, for I personally am eager to get up and get around the country to see and determine what’s needed,” Skerrit said in a message relayed by the St. Lucia-based Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS) Commission.
Dominica was hit by a Category 5 storm in 1979 when Hurricane David swept through the island killing several people and leaving millions of dollars in damages. (CMC)