Dominica's Prime Minister Roosevelt Skerrit has once again urged the international community to not “turn its back” on the problem of climate change but to address it in a “meaningful way”.
Speaking in the capital Roseau at an event to mark the International Day for Disaster Reduction, IDDR, Skerrit said this year's theme “Home Safe Home”, resonated strongly with the Caribbean people who have just experienced devastation caused by Hurricanes Harvey, Irma, and Maria.
He went on to say, “Today, thousands in Antigua and Barbuda, Anguilla, Cuba, St Maarten, St Thomas, the British Virgin Islands, the Turks and Caicos Islands, Puerto Rico and the Dominican Republic are without a roof over their heads, and lack adequate access to water, schools, medical services, or roads. And too many are in mourning for lost loved ones.”
Hurricanes not only destroy property and take lives, they leave psychological scars. The howling of the wind, the sound of a roof lifting; these are experiences many never forget,” the prime minister said.
Dominica's population of 72,000 was forced to leave following the devastation caused by Hurricane Maria on September 19.
At least 27 people were killed and 50 are still missing.
Over 90 percent of the island was left without food, power or shelter by the category 5 storm.
Skerrit said Dominica's aim to become the world's first climate-resilient nation, but this must be done with the international cooperation.
“We are among those countries which contribute least to climate change but over the last two years we have suffered the consequences of two devastating storms which have left us struggling to stay on the path of sustainable development.”
“On International Day for Disaster Reduction we ask that the world does not turn its back on this problem but starts to address it in a meaningful way through reducing greenhouse gas emissions and investing in climate action and disaster risk reduction for small island developing states where unique ways of life are in danger of extinction,” he said.
Skerrit has just returned from a visit to Washington and added that he would provide details of his trip at a news conference on Friday.