Exactly one year ago today, Tropical Storm Erika devastated my homeland, the Commonwealth of Dominica. More than a dozen inches of rain; 30 or more deaths accounted for; and over EC$1 billion in damages--all of which, to paraphrase Prime Minister Roosevelt Skerrit, "has set our country's development back by 20 years".
Today, in Dominica, is the first National Day of Mourning. Every native and expatriate reading this right now should take a moment to remember those who lost their lives during the storm, and look back at the generous relief efforts that followed in the disaster's wake. From small businesses and charities, to several international governments...those who heard of the events and did what they could, we all salute you.
And let us not forget the calamity that occurred in the southeastern village of Petite Savanne, as well as neighbouring Boetica and Delices. The downpour from Erika oversaturated the soil of Petite Savanne--to the point where authorities declared the area no longer inhabitable, and reassigned its former residents to new homes elsewhere. Today, we will also think of them, as we reflect on the events of August 27, 2015 in our hearts...and in our minds.
As a God-fearing people, our recovery efforts have only just begun. Houses for the survivors have been built here and there, several Bailey bridges have been put up, and a lot of support has poured in from various sources. But as Skerrit reminded us, there is still so much that can be done.
So as always, to the young and old, the rich and poor, the weak and mighty, the healthy and disabled...let us put aside our differences, look up to the Lord and to ourselves, and work together to make Dominica what it once was. A request such as this should not fall on deaf ears or blinded eyes...and even more so as we hear of worse events around the world every other week.
In the immortal words of Officer Judy Hopps, "I implore you to try. Try to make the world a better place. ... Look inside yourself and realise that change starts with you. It starts with me. It starts with all of us." More appropriate words--from ' 55th animated feature, no less--could have never arrived at a more daring time.
In memory of the most impactful disaster ever to occur on Dominican soil since Hurricane David in 1979. Let us all pray...let us all hope...let us all give...and give back. One day...we shall all rise again. Thank you for reading.
Après Bon Die, c'est la Terre. #DominicaStrong...We Are One.
(Sent via my Galaxy Tab 3; composed on Chrome)