Dominica Gov’t to assist fire victims

Tuesday, December 27, 2016

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ROSEAU, Dominica (CMC) —The Dominica Government has promised to support the victims of a fire at Silver Lake, on the outskirts of the capital, that destroyed several homes, leaving at least 60 people homeless.


Prime Minister Roosevelt Skerrit said yesterday that the Government will step in to assist and there will be no need for radiothons and other fund-raising activities. He is also promising that school children will return to their classrooms in the new year with the necessary supplies.


"We will provide all of that for the children. When they get to school, nobody will know that they had a fire at their home. So, the residents will get the fullest support of the Government," he said.


"There is no need to have any radiothon or PayPal or bank accounts opened or soliciting money; that is not necessary," he said. "The Government, as we have done in similar situations with disasters …we will come forward and assist them fully with immediate and long-term solutions."


Skerrit, who visited the area accompanied by several government ministers, said "tomorrow Wednesday, each family will receive EC$1,000 (One EC dollar = US$0.37 cents), followed by a periodical allowance.


"We have opened shelters and provided access to those displaced and I have requested that contracts be signed immediately to complete the construction of townhouse-like apartments at the same location that were already in motion but to speed up that process, especially for those now displaced," he added.


The cause of the blaze on Monday night has not yet been determined and Disaster Risk Management Consultant Cecil Shillingford said John Fontaine, local government commissioner, will be coordinating the social aspect of the disaster.


He said in the short term the Office of Disaster Management will be providing mattresses, blankets, sleeping bags and pots to various shelters that have been identified to house the residents.


Earlier, Tourism Minister Robert Tonge called on citizens to "be ready to assist in any way we can, big or small, as they will have many needs," while the parliamentary representative for the area, Josh Francis, appealed to Dominicans to assist those who have been affected by the blaze.


"What I have gathered in terms of people affected, it would appear that we have at least 60 people who were directly affected. We are looking at two long houses; each had a total of nine families, so you are looking at 18 families."

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