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Dominica Government moves swiftly to resettle Silver Lake victims after fire
By Office of the Prime Minister of Dominica
Dec 27, 2016 - 1:42:51 PM

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DOMINICA -- Prime Minister Roosevelt Skerrit visited Silver Lake earlier today and told the media that Government will move swiftly, ensuring that there is work day and night to resettle those displaced by the fire in Silver Lake which occurred Monday night.

"It was an unfortunate occurrence but you know, thank God no one was injured and no one died from this incident," said Prime Minister Skerritt. 

"Everybody has life today and therefore we have to thank God for that. We are meeting now in the Cabinet to take certain actions in response to the fire and to provide assistance to the families that have been affected.

"From last night the Government officials and some Ministers were on site to provide support. The ODM (Office of Disaster Management) which is the Government agency responsible for disaster management is coordinating government's response and that will be led by the head of the ODM Mr. Fitzroy Pascal and also our consultant Mr. Cecil Shillingford. And he will speak to the actions that the ODM has taken in response to disaster, the opening of shelters, provision of supplies to the shelters. We will certainly deal with the immediate, and medium term, and long term response to the fire.

"I was able, along with several of my Minister colleagues to visit the site this morning and to meet with the victims. We were able to address them; we were able to hear from them as to what are the issues, what kind of assistance they believe the government can provide in addition to some of the assistance which the Government would be providing.

PM Skerrit: Govt prepared to rent accommodation for all 20 families

"What I would say is this: we will provide the families with all their needs: clothing - we're putting clothing together; all of the foodstuff - the Government will provide this and that will be coordinated by the ODM. The shelters will be coordinated by the ODM with support by the local government commissioner and his team.

"There are six apartments under construction and instructions have been given for the construction to resume as early as tomorrow, morning, Wednesday. A second set of apartments, a contract will be issued tomorrow to a contractor to commence where the fire occurred where this long house was - another set of apartments will be constructed and we are hoping the contractor can be mobilized as early as Thursday this week to commence construction.

"We have been able to send heavy equipment on site this morning; it is currently on site doing some clearing so that we can minimize hazards that are present there in the first instance. Secondly, to prepare for the construction of the second set, third set of apartments in Silver Lake.

"Tomorrow morning the Government will provide the head of each household - we have 20 families that have been reported to have been affected by the fire - and tomorrow morning in addition to the clothing and the food stuff and all of the necessary supplies which the families will be provided with, the Government will provide each family with $1,000 EC to allow them to be independent and to be able to shop for some of their basic things that they would require. People may have certain likes and dislikes, therefore we would give them that freedom to be able to shop for themselves in addition to all what the Government will be providing to them.

"Following this $1,000, the families will be provided weekly or fortnightly or monthly, and that will be determined, an income support allowance similar to what we provided the residents of Petite Savanne following T.S. Erika but the whole idea with the apartments is to have them constructed in record time so that we can minimize the dislocation of those families and resettle them with great speed.

So our hope is that the contractors and this is going to be a very firm position to any of the contractors we are going to be using, that you have to work night and day. We have to work...when it comes to 4 o'clock we have to continue working so that construction can be hastened and we can have some resettlement.

"every single child [who is from Silver Lake] will go to school" when school re-opens. This comment follows a visit to fire victims on Tuesday morning at Silver Lake.

PM Skerritt said, "In respect of school for the children we will ensure that when school reopens that every single child will go to school with all the supplies: books, uniforms, school bags, shoes. We will provide all of that for the children. When they get to school, nobody will know they had a fire at home. They will be fully decked for school like any other child in their class."

Skerrit also welcomed support from those who "have" saying, "Dominicans who have who want to provide them with assistance - fine but there is no need to have any radio-thon or PayPal or bank account opened and soliciting money - that's not necessary. The Government, as we've done in similar situations with disasters, will come forward and assist them fully with the medium term and long-term solution."

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