Dominican Prime Minister Roosevelt Skerrit announced disaster status for nine areas after Tropical Storm Erika left at least 20 people dead last week, according to reports on Sunday. He also requested for international aid and said the destruction due to the storm could set back the country’s development by two decades.
Skerrit, who visited the affected areas, said the loss of lives and damage to property forced the government to declare disaster status for the areas, according to Barbados Today, a Caribbean news network. Don Corriette, director of the office of disaster management, advised people to stay away from the affected zones.
“We have teams from Venezuela, the fire service and the police, and we’re trying to manage the situation to the best of our ability. Additional people coming into the impact zone is just going to make things a little bit worse for us; we have to account for more people, we have to manage more people and we want to ask the general public to desist from doing that,” Corriette said on state-run DBS Radio, according to Barbados Today.
Landslide fears prompted authorities to evacuate 109 of around 1,000 people residing in the southeastern town of Petite-Savanne, while the remaining residents will be pulled out of the area Monday, Corriette said, according to the Associated Press. On Sunday, rescue teams worked to reopen roads to remote locations in the Caribbean island nation.
Dominica’s main airport, Douglas-Charles Airport, on the northeast, remained closed due to clean-up operations on runway and terminal, following floods and debris, Jamaica Observer reported. Meanwhile, regional airliner, Leeward Island Air Transport, reportedly announced cancelation of several flights bound to the Douglas-Charles Airport.
Storm Erika, which slammed Dominica last Wednesday, brought extreme rain and floods, wiping out roads and villages. The island-nation of Dominica is just north of Martinique and east-southeast of the Dominican Republic.