Roseau, Dominica – The Americas Relief Team (ART) handed over to the Dominica Red Cross a donation of nine power generating units which will be deployed to various parts of the island for use by government and non-government agencies on Thursday, December 7.
The donation by ART, an initiative of Outreach Aid to the Americas (OAA), is made possible through collaboration with the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), the One Caribbean Strong Program at the Miami Foundation and Express Cargo Inc.
The power generation units had been identified as priority requirements for Barbuda, Antigua’s sister island in the twin island nation and for Dominica which were ravaged in September by hurricanes Irma and Maria, respectively.
New information from power company, DOMLEC, reveals that 32,762 of its customers remain without power after the passage of Hurricane Maria. The company has a total of 35,606 customers and a total of 2,842, or 7.98 percent, have received power.
In Roseau, 1,350 customers have been connected to the grid while the number in Portsmouth stands at 1,492. The company’s infrastructure was severely damaged or destroyed by the hurricane.
DOMLEC has said that all customers in Dominica will have access to its grid to facilitate reconnection by April 2018.
In handing over the power units to Mrs. Kathleen Pinnard-Byrne, Director General of the Dominica Red Cross Society at a simple ceremony here this morning, OAA’s Director of Caricom Outreach, Wesley Kirton said his organization is pleased to assist with the supply of electricity to key institutions such as the PHARCS Home for the elderly, the CHANCES- a home for homeless and abused children and the Dominica Fire and Ambulance Service.
He congratulated the Red Cross for its collaboration with the Dominica government through its national disaster organization in determining the best deployment of the generators noting that not only the need for relief but for resilience is being taken into account.
Kirton also announced that a second shipment of three mobile power units has arrived in the country and is currently being offloaded at the port. He also pledged ART’s assistance with the Red Cross’ efforts to secure solar lamps for distribution to homes around the country. He said that appeals were being made to the Caribbean Diaspora in the US to collaborate with ART in helping the relief and resilience efforts in the region, noting that a generous in kind donation has been made by Mr. & Mrs. Ramzan Roshanali, owners of Furniture Kingdom in Miami as well as a monetary donation from the Guyana Relief Council of the USA.
Mrs. Pinard-Byrne in turn thanked ART and its partners for the generous donation of the much needed generators pointing out that this will bring relief and comfort the hundreds of persons who will benefit from the supply of electricity at institutions which serve the poor and underprivileged. She introduced representatives of some of the recipient institutions who were on hand for the handing over.
Dorothy Henderson, chief operating officer of the PHARCS Home for the Elderly said that the generator would serve as tremendous relief at one of her organization’s three facilities, two of which were almost completely destroyed and are presently under reconstruction.
Ava Roach, the representative of Chances, a home for homeless and abused children thanked ART and the Dominica Red Cross for the much needed generator while Deputy Chief Fire Officer Farley Riviere said that the Fire Station at the nation’s lone international airport at Melville Hall would now be assured of a back up source of power when the national grid fails.
Megan Bassford, Logistics Leader of the International Federation of the Red Cross’ Emergency Response Unit (ERU) currently deployed in Dominica who collaborated with ART to ensure the coordination of the delivery of the generators, advised that a representative of each organization/agency to which a generator is assigned will undergo training in the maintenance of the units. She said she has already been in discussion with the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) here which conducted training for number of locals a few weeks ago.
Those who have already been trained will assist with training the representatives of the recipient organizations, Ms. Bassford said.