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Hurricane season ends; Dominica spared major event

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The Atlantic Hurricane Season officially ended on November 30.

This is the second consecutive year that the island of Dominica was spared major impacts from tropical cyclones. In fact, Dominica was only placed under a Tropical Storm Watch for Dorian in August, but the system had no major effect on the island. However, we can recall the devastation wrought by Dorian on sections of the Bahamas as a major hurricane. Dominicans stood in solidarity with the Bahamas as we too have lived through a similar experience with the devastation caused by Hurricane Maria on Dominica in 2017.

The time afforded by the relative calm experienced during the hurricane season was used by the Office of Disaster Management (ODM) to execute several activities aimed at strengthening the disaster management mechanism of the country. These mainly took the form of training sessions, workshops and consultations along with continuing work on several projects. Significant among these were a workshop for Media practitioners in collaboration with the Dominica Meteorological Service and the Caribbean Disaster Emergency Management Agency (CDEMA) for enhancing disaster risk communication; strengthening Search and Rescue capacity of local first responders and enhancing community disaster response through Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) training.

There was also a workshop on adopting Tsunami Protocols and Standard Operating Procedures; rehabilitating the seismic monitoring network and continuous monitoring of seismic activities with support from the Seismic Research Centre (SRC) in Trinidad and finalizing the way forward for the ODM over the next five years by way of the Country Work Programme based on the principles of Comprehensive Disaster Management.

The critical process of reviewing the National Disaster Plan, incorporating “Lessons Learned” from past events such as Tropical Storm Erika and Hurricane Maria, commenced in November. Part of the revision includes assessing the composition and Terms of Reference of the main Task Forces of the National Emergency Planning Organization (NEPO). Bearing in mind that our focus is not only on hydro-meteorological hazards, the National Volcanic Plan is also under review.

The ODM continues to remind the public to put serious effort into creating disaster plans for all aspects of their lives such as public and private sector workspace, health centres, educational institutions and homes. Again, your plans should not be tailored to one, but all hazards. We all have a role to perform in disaster management to ensure greater safety of the population. In this regard, continue to educate and empower yourselves to be better able to protect you, your family and to assist other vulnerable people in your community such as the elderly and physically challenged.

The ODM is using this opportunity to invite the public to familiarize themselves with the “Weather and Alert App” developed specifically for Dominica and email comments and feedback to odm@dominica.gov.dm.





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Dominica

Skerrit calls for plans to increase Dominica’s visitor arrivals during carnival

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Visitors in Roseau on Carnival Tuesday

Prime Minister Roosevelt Skerrit has called for plans to be put in place to increase the number of visitors to Dominica’s shores during the Carnival celebrations.

The prime minister said, in a post-carnival statement,  that the Ministry of Tourism, International Transport and Maritime Initiatives needs to hold a consultation on Carnival during March/April in order to bring all the band organizers, artistes, representatives, patrons and private sector together to have a very transparent and open discussion on Carnival, “where do we think Carnival should be taken and how do we position ourselves so that we can attract more visitors in our country?”

Skerrit contends that while Carnival is a time to celebrate, “we also have to understand that this is an export commodity.”

“We need to ensure that we continue to attract even increasing numbers of people coming for our Carnival celebrations,” he said. “I have been saying to the Ministry of Tourism for many years now, for the last 10 to 12 years, we always had a ship in town on Tuesday and on Carnival Tuesday we had more than one.”

He believes that his government needs to find a way of getting the cruise passengers to be part of the celebrations.

“Can we not sell a package to the cruise lines so that patrons, visitors, cruise tourists can have their own band or be part of a band?” the prime minister asked.





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Suspected cases of coronavirus in Guadeloupe and British Virgin Islands

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La1ere in Guadeloupe have been reporting that a family of 3 are under observation after one family member stayed in an area infected with the coronavirus.

The family is asymptomatic (exhibiting no symptoms) but have been put under observation by health officials to assuage any concerns about virus infection.

This suspected case comes on the heels of a dramatic increase in confirmed cases in France.

The number of french cases doubled on Thursday (27th February) where the number jumped from 18 to 38 from the previous day.

This sudden increase has sparked greater attention from both the general public and officials in France and french territories.

Meanwhile, various media had reported that there is a suspected case of the coronavirus within the British Virgin Islands.

The media outlets had earlier claimed that certain “high-placed” sources have confirmed the suspected case.

BVI officials publicly stated there there were no confirmed cases in response to the rumours.

The premier of the BVI Andrew Fahie later that same day (Thursday 27th February) at an impromptu press conference publicly stated:

“We have a case in terms of a person who had entered the BVI that was coming from away [and who] showed some symptoms that created concerns. And since then, the person has been tested and quarantined,”.

Fahie explained that initial testing was done and the person placed at their home for observation, further samples were taken and sent to Trinidad for testing.

Read more on Guadeloupe case

Read BVI news report





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Man critically injured in motorcycle accident at Massacre

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The motorcycle involved in the accident

One man is said to be in critical condition at the Dominica-China Friendship Hospital following an accident which occurred in Massacre on Thursday night.

The accident involved a Yamaha MT motor cycle owned and ridden by 28 year old Julian Burton of Mahaut and a Honda Civic owned and driven by 26 year old Jahnaya Henry of Campeche, Grand Bay.

Henry who was driving in a southerly direction upon reaching opposite Debras Bar suddenly turned right into the path of the motor cycle which was being ridden in a northerly direction resulting in a collision.

Burton was thrown some 55 feet unto a parapet on the western side of the road.

He received injuries to his neck, both arms and back and was transported to the D.C.F hospital.





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