The road to Petite Savanne is open, we visited today and met residents collecting their belongings and some who have remained throughout.
What I had not realised was the tremendous damage to Dubique, Fond St Jean and Bagatelle. I met a delightful elderly lady who had been rescued from her roof and heard other horrifying tales of people cut out of collapsed buildings and washed away hundred of yards. The Police are doing an excellent job of sharing supplies but there is clearly great need especially amongst those who were poor before the Storm. Thanks to those who sponsored water and donated clothes.
Tomorrow we remember the dead and the bereaved at 12.00 in Roseau Market and simultaneously elsewhere, but please let us remember the living and traumatised as well.
A group of volunteers arrived with medical equipment this week from Global Links via the Rubicon Team who are working with All Hands www.hands.org My face lit up at the colostomy bags! We were able to sort the stuff and deliver in an hour to Dominica Cancer Society, Roseau Health Centre and the Ambulance Station......Everyone happy, the donors wanted to get the things to first responders and the receivers put the them straight into use. blood pressure monitors, IV equipment, thermometers and gloves.
We were even able to send a package of colostomy bags to a man who, last week had travelled two hours on a bus to come and see me. I was so sad to see his huge bag taped to his ostomy and to have to send him away to buy at the hospital for ten dollars a bag. Can you imagine reusing colostomy bags? and sticking them on with masking tape? The Rubicon water engineer will have a story to tell from being the courier too.
I think that Lifeline will possibly end up the "go to" place for colostomy supplies! please keep them coming!
Yesterday i drove up the west coast road and saw the flooded swamp that used to be Macerchouie field this is a huge mosquito hazard. I call upon environmental health for a solution can we buy fish to put there to eat the larvae....contact me if you want to help fund this we do not need dengue and chikungunya now
A Big THANK YOU to UNICEF for bringing friends from St Lucia to help the Child Fund Rovers to help evacuated and traumatized children "Return to Happiness" Guys it was a pleasure to get my guitar out and sing Shake a Friends Hand with you!
from September 13
Our vagrants are back in position! Post Erika, there is less compassion for the "Poor that we always have with us" ...as we are all in shock by the total loss of family possessions and environment experienced by the evacuees from the South and the spoiling of homes by floods on the West Coast and Riverside.
However, if anything, our vagrants look worse than ever. I counted four on doorsteps along Hillsborough Street yesterday.
We are aware of an in touch with several individuals who are quietly and anonymously cooking and distributing meals to these Dominicans most in need. Lifeline welcomes donations of food and and cash to buy and distribute what is needed.
from September 12
The Boetica Bridge now gone, a wall of water having swept away the 50 year old dam and road built of ‘tarrish’ over a large corrigated steel pipe. People now have to climb down into the gorge and up the other side to get across from La Plaine to Boetica and on to Delices. Not an easy path or feat:
Following a video by Petter "Pepper" Saint-Jean (originally posted on his Facebook page)
from September 10
Please, let's invest in some projects in Delices that employ people!
Delices people are unusually hard working.
Please contact me if you would like to invest in the future of Delices with project ideas and or funding.
from September 7, 2015
I went to the Grammar School tonight to share some love with the Petit Savanne Community sheltering there. They were told categorically that they will not be going back to their village devastated by Erika.
A committee was formed, and well led by the Parl Rep Kenneth Darroux to negotiate with Government for a site for the new Petite Savanne. United in their grieving for friends and family, and clearly traumatized by their experiences, the people share a sense of bewilderment that the environment, which had been their source for generations, suddenly turned hostile.
It is so good to be home even if all I can do is to love and to listen! Gifts of towels sheets and toiletries can be taken straight to the Shelter Manager
Just a thought -- Tina
from September 6, 2015
We are finally back on Dominica and mostly in one piece. Ben is with us and Miriam is in Antigua with Dylan until Friday. Hopefully the ferry will be easier for them than for us. Upon arriving Ben's case went astray and our cars won't start. We’ve discovered that our landline phones are water damaged. (I can be contacted via my cell phone: 1-767-235-8367) …and that our basement is full of water. And the cat is missing! These small challenges aside we’ve hit the ground running.
As soon as my phone was within range of Dominica! I heard from a couple of folks via Facebook. They were in trouble and had only just got internet back. The villages near them, Petite Savanne and Dubique, had been evacuated after 27 people died in multiple landslides. Roads on both sides of them are gone and their neighbours at Jungle Bay Resort left after it was damaged beyond repair. The owner had been injured and his wife was sick and barely coping with the children. We were able to get in touch with the authorities who went in by helicopter with a doctor to provide medical care; they followed up in getting medication to them. One business man is providing a free ATV service where where normal vehicles cannot get through to deliver stuff. Whilst away, I have spent a lot of time on Facebook connecting people and supporting.
Delices. The whole of Delices village is cut off and God knows how they are going to have a road again. It is even worse than when Harry was a boy, as now to get across Boetica River one has to hang on a rope and swing like Tarzan. Roseau is recovering although two bridges are out of use! Three foot of mud has been dug out of the streets and we can buy food and supplies for specific families and take it for the helicopters to drop. Pastor St. Louis who is still going strong (although even before he looked rather fragile, and I hope he has enough insulin and can keep it cool!) has to climb to a high place a couple of miles from his house to get cell phone reception. Landlines are down probably for good! I do not know how he will charge his cell phone once his car runs out of gas. The helicopters are dropping food and water and medication but the folks have to collect wood for cooking and rainwater for drinking. We will try to source generators and water filters in the medium term. The secondary school children who would normally commute to school have been told to find families to take them in near Roseau.
Petit Savanne Evacuees. Over 400 families are homeless. 217 from the community of Petite Savanne . They are evacuated to the Grammar School. We are looking at how we can use our current girls group and women's group to befriend evacuated teens and give them some normal activities. Imagine what it must be like to have lost family members, your home and your whole environment. The PM has said he will beg funds to rebuild these people’s houses, but their land which has been theirs for generation is gone, along with their school, clinic, and their granny’s house. It is a bit like having a small farm in Cornwall and being moved to live on Gascoigne Estate in Barking. It is like being in a war but everyone around you is getting back to normal and you …you have nothing but appalling, shocking memories of holding your drowned or crushed relatives.
The West Coast -- is now accessible by 4WD to get round the several bridges that were washed away. Coulibistrie DuBlanc and Colihaut are terribly damaged by mud and sand and still need food and water by sea and St Joseph, Layou and Mero have a lot of recovering to do and the road is gone beside Layou River. Better report on those you know to follow. Castle Bruce is also cut off and Calibishie and Woodford Hill and Marigot without water.
What can be done? And, what is ours to do?
Counselling -- I have been asked to help with the Insurance Company Staff and the Bank staff groups as part of their employee assistance programme, and so will run Crisis Mitigation Group sessions as well as individual counselling for those who want it. This should be paid which is nice! I am also mobilizing our Victim Supporters to broaden their remit and be available to those referred by the police. I will have a meeting with them ASAP; some of the members of the infant Dominica Psychological Association may join in.
Delivery and Transportation -- Harry's Boat is intact and no doubt he will be desperate to get it back in the water and to try out his new seafaring gear a friend bought him. I must take a picture; he looks like an advert for fish fingers! He will see what he can do to help with deliveries and transport.
Teams I have being contacted by a church who wants to send a team to help; I will be discussing with them how disaster management could work. The Brits have sent a ship with 150 sailors who are helping with the dig out and trying to restore the water supply. The Baptists have building teams that can come but, I think I will be looking at bringing in folks to help with people's emotional and spiritual needs. A bit like what I saw from the Ukraine Trip, and seeking to encourage long term relationships.
Long Term I was already looking at a Bolt-a-block initiative with an investor, which is a new way of building houses quickly without cement and so will try to put the suppliers in touch with our Urban Renewal Minister and Prime Minister. This could boost the economy if we could make the blocks here.