Thank you so much to those who donated to the special offering for Dominica yesterday! We will be posting updates here when we get news about the situation in Dominica. Here is a news release we’ve just received:

Information Bulletin: Dominica: Tropical Storm Erika

The situation:

The island of Dominica sustained significant damage due to the passage of Tropical Storm Erika on Thursday, 28 August. A band of torrential rain caused by the system resulted in the 6 to 8 inches of rainfall in less than twelve hours and triggered massive flooding and several landslides.

Regional media reports indicate that Regional governments and the Caribbean Disaster Emergency Management Agency (CDEMA) are stepping in to help Dominica after recording loss of at least 14 lives and millions of dollars in damage. More than 20 people are also reported missing and presumed dead. There is minimal damage to the main hospitals in the capital and the north of the island with some damage to health clinics reported. The Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) provided a helicopter to Dominica from the organization’s base in Miami to assist with response efforts.

The immediate national efforts are centered on search and rescue effort. The government of Dominica requested assistance in search and rescue, medical support and damage assessment. CDEMA and other regional partners, including PAHO, are currently deploying teams to the country. The French government has also provided one helicopter to assist with the search and rescue efforts. Initial reports from French Civil Defence indicate that the most affected area is Petite Savanne (currently accessible by sea or air), which is an area with an estimated population of 1,200, where 20 houses were destroyed and 50 houses were damaged.

Most of the main roads are impassable and several bridges are blocked or damaged. The provision of essential services (water, electricity) has been disrupted, and landline and mobile phone service is intermittent. The agricultural sector and consequently livelihoods has been significantly impacted due to crop losses. All air and sea ports are closed pending further assessments.

The National Emergency Operations Centre (NEOC) of the Office of Disaster Management (ODM) was established at an alternate location as ODM’s headquarters is inaccessible at the moment.

There are reports of several landslides and massive flooding in Dominica. The essential service teams (including Dominica Red Cross) are currently in the field to conduct a rapid assessment. However, as the island continues to be impacted, it is still too early to provide comprehensive information on the situation.

Main affected areas:

 The island has been affected by torrential rains since 2 a.m. on 28 August.

 Houses along the shores of the rivers have been damaged and flooded

 Electricity is down in some areas

 Telephone and mobile network services are intermittent

 Internet is down

 5 people have died as a result of landslides (3 people in Good Hope, and two brothers drowned in the Bath Estate River); in total, there have been 35 deaths.

 The airport is closed and currently flooded

 Many roads are impassable

 Several bridges are damaged or structurally unsafe

 The Office of Disaster Management building is not accessible. The National emergency operation centre (EOC) was established at 1:30 p.m. today at an alternate location

 The National Society’s headquarters has not been affected

On of 28 August, the Dominica Red Cross informed the Americas regional office in Panama by telephone that the rain had stopped, but many communities are isolated as roads and bridges are affected. There are approximately 20,000 people on the island without cellular service. There were two communities in the south that were impacted by a landslide that left 30 people missing. There is shortage of water, food supplies and milk for babies. An estimated 10,000 to 20,000 people have been affected; however, the exact number of affected people cannot be determined at this moment. There is one main hospital in the capital city, but it has limited resources and personnel. There is one hospital in the northern part of the island, but it can only be accessed by air. There are 52 health centres on the island, but some have been flooded.

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