The Jamaican government has announced that it is donating US$100,000 to hurricane-torn Antigua and Barbuda and Dominica.
Jamaican Prime Minister Andrew Holness made the announcement Tuesday during a session with House Representatives, adding that the Jamaican Defense Force, JDF, has deployed its Disaster Assistance Response Team, DART, to Dominica.
The 120-member team will arrive in three phases, beginning Tuesday and continuing into Wednesday. The relief force is slated to assist with island security and distribution of supplies, medical care as well as recovery planning, damage assessment, basic engineering and logistics management, the prime minister said.
“Jamaica has always leaned forward to help our neighbors in need, and alongside the Office of Disaster Preparedness and Emergency Management, the JDF has always delivered this capability on behalf of the people and Government of Jamaica,” Holness said.
Holness went on to say that he has committed to provide Dominica with a four-person technical and advisory support team led by the JDF’s Lt. Colonel Jamie Ogilvie.
The desperately-needed relief efforts are part of a move to restore the integrity of Dominica’s national security system and to develop plans of recovery and reconstruction.
During a press conference Tuesday, Prime Minister Roosevelt Skerritt said he didn’t want the island and the recovery efforts to be “infiltrated by drug and arms” rings due to the lack of infrastructure surrounding the ports.
Since Hurricane Maria, support has arrived to Dominica from all over the world. Skerrit said Dominica has received aid in the form of relief supplies as well as security personnel from Venezuela, Cuba and Caricom nations.
Skerrit thanked the international community, saying he was “eternally grateful” for their immediate help following the Category 5 storm that hit the island on Sept. 19.
The prime minister said he looks forward to working with international relief workers and economists “to rebuild the country in a way we would have liked it in the first place. We are going … to build a more resilient country.”
Maria was the second major storm to hit the Caribbean in recent weeks after Hurricane Irma.
According to Dominica’s police chief, there have been 27 confirmed dead, 27 confirmed missing as well as 18 persons believed to be missing.