GRAND CAYMAN, Cayman Islands – The Cayman Islands Government has sent US$500,000 in aid to Dominica to help them in the struggle to recover from Tropical Storm Erika.
The storm struck 27 August, 2015, triggering floods and mudslides, leaving at least 31 people dead and dozens of people missing.
“I really do think this is something we must do,” said Cayman Islands Premier Hon. Alden McLaughlin. “We know devastation first-hand. They are our brothers and sisters too.”
Mr. McLaughlin announced the donation aid to Dominica on Monday morning. He has been in regular contact Dominica Prime Minister Hon. Roosevelt Skerrit, who said more than 370 homes in Dominica are partially damaged or destroyed and two communities have had to be evacuated because of instability of the soil and risk to homes.
Many of the country’s bridges have been washed away and residents in Dominica are keeping a wary eye on the weather and especially on Tropical Storm Grace.
Erika dumped about 10 inches of rain on Dominica in only a few hours, turning rivers on the mountainous island into torrents and hillsides into deadly mudslides. The Dominican government has estimated its infrastructure repair and reconstruction bill at over US$228 million, which is half the country’s gross domestic product.
In addition to the aid from the Cayman Islands Government, Mr. McLaughlin urged Cayman’s residents to help in the effort to get dry food items and other necessities, including cash donations, to assist those in need. If enough goods are collected, Cayman Airways will send the items to Dominica via a nearby island because the airport in Dominica is destroyed and cannot support the landing of 737s.
In a letter to Mr. Skerrit, Mr. McLaughlin wrote: “There is little doubt that the past few weeks have perhaps been some of the most challenging times in Dominica’s modern history. However, as Caribbean people, resilience is embedded in our DNA and as your forbearers did on many occasions before, you too will rebuild. Regrettably, we have been there too. The powerful images and heart wrenching stories that have been shared with us bring to mind hurricanes Ivan and Paloma and our own vivid memories of the struggle to recover.”
Mr. McLaughlin has met with Pastor Martin Royer of the Church of Christ and other members of DomCay, the Dominican community who live in the Cayman Islands. They have all expressed their profound gratitude on behalf of the Government and people of Dominica to the Government and people of the Cayman Islands for their kindness and generosity in their hour of need, saying it is something that will never be forgotten.