Aid community launches $31 million appeal for ‘badly battered’ Dominica

ROSEAU, Dominica — In consultation with the government, the humanitarian community launched on Friday a Hurricane Maria Flash Appeal for Dominica, asking for $31.1 million to reach 65,000 people over the next three months to address challenges, such as a lack of fresh running water and electricity along with road damage and communication black-outs.

Meanwhile, emergency supplies from the United Nations food relief agency are being delivered to Dominica as people face “huge challenges in their lives” in the wake of the devastation wrought by Hurricane Maria, which ripped through the small Caribbean island on September 18 and 19.

“Dominica has been badly battered and needs to be rebuilt,” said World Food Programme (WFP) regional director for Latin America and the Caribbean, Miguel Barreto.

The mountainous island has suffered nearly 30 deaths, about 80 percent of its buildings damaged and many roads blocked or impaired.

“We’re working with the government to support the people who are facing huge challenges in their lives” added Baretto, who has visited in recent days.

Some ten metric tons of WFP high-energy biscuits were transported by ship to the eastern Caribbean island last week and then delivered to communities in the remote interior by helicopter and to coastal communities by boat.

Overall, WFP plans to provide a range of food assistance to some 25,000 people for three months as it discusses with the government a system to supply hurricane-affected people with food vouchers to be used in local markets once they reopen.

WFP is also providing critical logistics, air service and telecommunications support to Dominica and the humanitarian relief response. Its emergency telecommunications team – with expert support from the Ericsson response team and the government of Luxembourg – has set up connectivity in Dominica to some 400 registered users including the government Emergency Operations Centre, the island’s airports and hospitals, and the Dominican, Venezuelan and French fire brigades.