Death toll from cholera outbreak in NE Nigeria rises to 35

first_imgThirty-five people have now died during a cholera outbreak in northeast Nigeria, up from 21 at the start of the week, local health officials said on Sunday.“The number of deaths reported… is 35. The total number of suspected cholera cases is now 1 283,” the Borno state health ministry said in a statement.Most of the cases and deaths have been at the Muna Garage camp on the outskirts of the Borno state capital, Maiduguri, which houses some 20 000 people who have fled the Boko Haram conflict.A total of 775 infections were reported at the sprawling camp, where internally displaced people (IDPs) are living in makeshift accommodation, reliant on food handouts and communal water boreholes.Water-borne diseases are a constant threat because of a lack of adequate sanitation for the camp dwellers, especially during the current rainy season, when poor drainage causes stagnant pools to form.State health officials announced on September 3 that 14 people had died from 186 suspected cases of cholera in Maiduguri.Two days later, the toll jumped to 21 from 375 cases.Nigeria’s government, domestic and international aid agencies involved in providing shelter, food, clean water and healthcare to the IDPs have been working to contain the outbreak.But it has spread to the town of Dikwa, some 90km east of Maiduguri, where 438 cases were recorded.Suspected cases were still being investigated in the garrison town of Monguno, 138km northeast of Maiduguri, said the statement.Maiduguri has seen its population double to two million since the start of Boko Haram’s Islamist insurgency in 2009, as the violence forced people to seek safe haven from vulnerable rural communities.Overall, at least 20 000 people have been killed and some 2.6 million displaced.Most IDPs live in so-called host communities with distant relatives or friends. The remainder live in camps.last_img read more

PM’s address to the nation post TS Erika

first_imgLocalNews PM’s address to the nation post TS Erika by: – September 7, 2015 338 Views   no discussions Share Sharing is caring! Tweetcenter_img Share Prime Minister Roosevelt Skerrit (Photo credit: The Office of the Prime Minister)HONOURABLE ROOSEVELT SKERRIT, PRIME MINISTER OF THE COMMONWEALTH OF DOMINICA POST-TROPICAL STORM ERIKA PRESS BRIEFINGSeptember 7, 2015Fellow Dominicans, residents, friends and well-wishers…let me start by thanking Almighty God for giving each of us the strength and fortitude to soldier on…in the midst of the tragedy wrought upon our island, from the passage of Tropical Storm Erika.Just over a week ago, when I addressed you officially, the circumstance was solemn and sombre. The task ahead was daunting for many. But, with our renowned resilience and our faith in Almighty God, we are fighting and we will bounce back.We are nowhere near a state of comfort and satisfaction, but the spirits of Dominicans have been lifted.I thank each and every citizen of this country, whether resident at home or abroad, for adopting a ‘never say die’ attitude to this tragedy. I think it is that determination and demonstration of unity, and a common sense of purpose, by all and sundry, that awoke the spirit of sympathy, solidarity and support of the regional and international community.As leader of this country, I am humbled by the universal outpouring of support for and assistance to Dominica.We value and appreciate the contributions of the large and wealthy, but it is the small, selfless givings of those who could hardly afford it, that impacted us in a significant way.I speak here of the small fisherman from Guadeloupe, who borrowed the money to buy the petrol to bring across some water and other foodstuff in his small fishing boat. I think of the old lady in Antigua and Barbuda, whose pension normally affords her only two cans of milk a week, but, who nevertheless declared at the counter, that one of these cans, this week, would be sent to Dominica.I speak here of the entertainers in Barbados and also in Antigua, who are coming together to perform free of cost, for the benefit of the children of Dominica.This has been a very touching period for me, as leader of this small country, because the experience of the last few days has told us clearly, that in our moment of need and vulnerability, we are not alone.As a people, we must have done something right over the years, for the outpouring of support and well wishes, is beyond expectation.I take this opportunity to thank all those who have helped in any way to ease the pain and boost the spirits of our people. Dominica shall not forget your kindness!!I had intended, Ladies and Gentlemen, to provide you with a detailed update this evening on our relief and recovery efforts.Stakeholders have worked diligently on preparing these updates and I must say I am very satisfied, indeed, quite impressed, with the great strides that collectively we have made in the last 10 days.Water and food supplies at this time are in adequate supply, though the need for replenishment is constant; given the number who are homeless and those without running water or electricity.Regrettably, there are unsubstantiated and perhaps even unwarranted reports of unfairness and even partisanship in the distribution of relief supplies.Ladies and Gentlemen, brothers and sisters…please! please! I beg of you. Do not let us degenerate the discussion to this level.My job as Prime Minister has been to bring emotional comfort to residents, while soliciting, from far and wide, assistance to relieve the suffering of my people.I have been ably supported in this endeavor by my Cabinet of Ministers, fellow Labour Party Parliamentarians, Leader of the Opposition, Honourable Lennox Linton and other Opposition Parliamentarians. We have put in place a clear and transparent system for the receipt, processing and distribution of relief supplies.No Minister of Government or Parliamentary Representative is or should be involved in the administration of this program. Each Parl Rep, and I mean each of the 21 elected Parl Reps, has been given a direct line of access to the administration of the Relief Supply service.I am not aware of any breakdowns, but, in an operation such as this, there could be clogs in the system. Our job as a people is to find these chinks and work them out.I cannot and I WILL NOT be distracted at this time, by a few radio talk show hosts, or others incapable of raising their level of debate and discourse.If there are problems, I invite any disgruntled Parl Rep to speak up at our regular meetings and let us iron them out.Indeed, we have another meeting of ALL 21 Parliamentarians tomorrow morning at eight o’clock, and I will invite the public officers co-ordinating the relief supplies program to attend that meeting, hear grievances and also spell out, once again, the procedures that have been put in place for the procurement, management and distribution of relief supplies.But, I am honestly too focused on the bigger picture, to be dragged into such negative, internecine warfare, that will clearly NOT contribute to the reduction of stress on the backs of those who suffered in this disaster.Dominica has done remarkably well in its efforts to bounce back from this social, infrastructural and economic setback.I repeat, now is not the time, for petty politics to be introduced into the equation.As I said earlier, several reports on the impact of the storm and recovery efforts to date, have been submitted.I propose to use the occasion of the nightly press briefings, to invite each sectoral interest to join me in discussing the state and status of each sector.So in the coming days you will be updated on housing, tourism, agriculture, air and seaports operation, roads and bridges, public buildings, health services…and the list goes on.What I tell you now, nonetheless, is that I am very satisfied with the response of major foreign governments and multinational and multilateral agencies to our appeal for direct monetary assistance and budget support.The relevant officials will provide detailed updates in a day or two, but I can say to you, for example, that only today, Monday 7th September 2015, a team from the Caribbean Development Bank arrived to assess the two projects currently funded by the CDB..The team will seek to expedite the projects already approved and to include the new works required. The mission will undertake site visits and provide a report on Thursday 10th September 2015.A team from the World Bank arrived in Dominica today as well, to begin the economic and social assessment. Discussions are also ongoing with the World Bank, with a view to reallocating the resources approved under the Disaster Vulnerability Reduction Project (DVRP).Confirmation has been given that an amount of US$14.7 million can be re-allocated for Erika reconstruction projects.The Bank is in discussion with the Climate Investment Fund (CIF) on the possibility of re-allocating the funds provided by that organisation.The UNDP representative has been consulted and has submitted a number of proposals to Head Office for consideration.Already the UNDP has indicated that it will look to double its initial contribution to the overall relief effort.Despite these efforts, and as I have indicated to the Nation, Tropical Storm Erika has caused almost a billion dollars in damage in Dominica and we will need the combined support of our development partners to recover from this major setback.Fellow Dominicans, Residents, Ladies and Gentlemen, in order to facilitate the quick and efficient movement of people and goods at the Ports of Entry, additional staff has been deployed to the Canefield airport and the Roseau Ferry Terminal.I am aware of isolated incidents of less than courteous service being meted out to those journeying to Dominica to deliver relief supplies.First, let me apologize to the victims of such shoddy treatment and to assure you that transparent systems are being put in place streamline the receipt and processing of all storm relief supplies.The Cabinet of Ministers has taken a decision with respect to waiver of duties and other impositions and this has been communicated to the relevant authority.We shall continue to monitor the service at our ports of entry to ensure that those going to the trouble of bringing us much needed supplies are recipients of the warm hospitality for which Dominicans are renowned.But we are mindful that during this process the integrity of our port entries is not compromised.And very quickly, – just before I get to the crux of my message to you this evening – I want to give a general update on progress and plans as they relate to infrastructure.Government continues to open up critical lines of communication and has devoted significant resources to the West and East coast roads.In support of these efforts, we shall take delivery of some emergency bridges this week and immediately start to install these along the West coast at Pointe Ronde, Batali River and Macoucherie River.These bridges shall ensure that the present detours are more substantial and will provide safe crossing in the event those river levels rise.Concurrently, bridging equipment will be deployed to the gorge at Boetica to allow us to open up the road to reach the community of Delices. Thereafter, we shall provide a safe crossing at the White river, then open road access to Petite Savanne.Opening of road access to the south east is critical to those stranded communities, and this objective is a top priority to Government.Work on temporary bridges shall commence tomorrow and we shall work extended hours until all these structures are in place.While developing these temporary bridging solutions, we are also making advances in developing permanent replacement bridges for those affected structures. These new bridges shall be designed to ensure they do not cause pinch points for river flows or are susceptible to repeat events.Government, with the support of its development partners, intends to move very quickly on the permanent rebuilding of the roads and bridges on the East and West coasts, and will take decisive action in the short-term to make sure that work commences as soon as possible and on an accelerated basis.Such reconstruction efforts shall also address obvious vulnerabilities on the main highways and eliminate potential fatal flaws.Elsewhere, we intend to install bridges in the Roseau valley; on the Trafalgar Falls to Wotten Waven connector road and in Elmshall.We have also embarked on the design of critical river training operations, to clean river channels and, where possible, prevent breaches to riverbanks. This work will include completing the Roseau river walls to the west of the link bridge.This week we shall be acquiring materials such as guardrail barriers and gabion baskets; allowing us to start protecting and stabilizing roads impacted by slides.During this rebuilding we continue to appeal to the residents of Dominica to be patient during this trying time. We wish to assure you that we are aware of the terrible impact this storm has had on entire communities and individuals.Indeed, so catastrophic has this experience been, with its resultant implications for our future development, that I have empaneled a National Reconstruction Task Force to assist and advise on mapping a path forward for the social and economic forward movement of Dominica.This group shall bring together tried, tested and proven Dominicans, who have the skills, vision and experience to advise the Government on the way forward.It is my pleasure to report to you that they have all readily agreed to serve and are about to get down to the task assigned.This group of eminent Dominicans shall be led by Former President, His Excellency Eliud Williams; Collin Bully, Former Director of OECS EDU; Retired Cabinet Secretary and Attorney at Law, Julian Johnson; Alick Lazare, Former Financial Secretary; former government Minister and Businessman Yvor Nassief; Prominent Businessman Gerry Aird;Attorney at Law Senior Counsel Alick Lawrence; Gregory Shillingford, former CEO of West Indies Cricket Board and Agronomist; Consultant and Economist Dr. Valda Henry, Chartered Engineer and Businessman Anthony Burnette-Biscombe; Ambassador Edward Lambert, with banker, Marie-Therese Johnson serving as Secretary of the Group.We are indeed honored to have such an illustrious group willing to give of their time and talent, and we look forward to recommendations emanating from their deliberations.But, Ladies and Gentlemen, what I really want to talk to you about this evening, will impact and determine how fast realistically we can and will proceed towards full recovery. It’s the unfolding hurricane season and disturbing forecasts of more bad weather on the horizon.I have been in constant communication with officials of the Meteorological Office here in Dominica, and I want to pause a moment to express my total confidence in the work and judgement of our local meteorologists.I speak with them, and, like you, I consult other weather services and channels around the world. I find our local officials are as knowledgeable as any, and their understanding and interpretation of the various tracking reports are spot on with others elsewhere.It is after consultation with them and with the support of external forecasters that I have decided to come to you this evening to sensitize you to the clear and present danger posed by the threat of more torrential rainfall in Dominica at this time.Many of you are monitoring the progress or lack thereof of Tropical Storm Grace, which formed south of the Cape Verde Islands on Saturday, August 5th.Over the last two days, ‘Grace’ has continued on a general westward motion toward the Lesser Antilles with maximum sustained winds peaking near 50 mph on Sunday.As of today, Monday September 7, 2015, the 5pm advisory issued by the National Hurricane Center (NHC) on the storm, indicated slight weakening of the storm to 45mph.However, the forecast track of Grace maintains a centre located just north of Dominica on Friday September 11, 2015 either as a weak storm or tropical wave.Regardless of this weakening — and this is what I want you to listen to very carefully, my dear people — the current projection is for an increase in shower and thunderstorm activity, which could be heavy at times across Dominica on Friday, with the possibility of flash flooding.Additionally, a tropical wave is expected to produce some unstable conditions this Wednesday, that’s two days from now, with model projections estimating rainfall amounts of 15mm to 20mm across Dominica. That’s slightly less than an inch of rainfall.Under normal circumstances, an inch of rain on Wednesday would be a windfall for farmers and sea-craft users. But on this occasion, it spells trouble for residents of several communities across Dominica. The earth is saturated and will not easily absorb an inch of rain.In addition to the meteorologists, I have also been listening to structural engineers and they are warning of the grave and present danger posed by the threat of additional torrential rainfall in Dominica at this time.So not only is there the weakened Tropical Storm Grace that we have to pay attention to, but also, our troubles could begin as early as Wednesday.I wish to take this opportunity to issue a word of warning to residents of this country. Now is not the time for dare-devil maneuvers. We have been given adequate warning of the likelihood of torrential showers and flash flooding and we all must pay heed.I know it will be difficult and I know it will be uncomfortable for many, but, we are all one people and we have got to batten down and see this period of trial and adversity through.If you know you are living in areas that are susceptible to flooding or you are in the path of busted riverbanks and water courses, I am urging you, from now, to consider a shelter or bunking with a relative or friend elsewhere, during the upcoming days of anticipated bad weather. It is better to be safe than sorry!Landslides have heavily impacted the road system and those affected areas have by no means stopped shifting. They therefore currently present a very real danger.Our engineers are out on the roads conducting inspections and monitoring hazards as we can expect sections to continue to shift. This shifting may accelerate in the event of additional heavy rain.We ask for motorists to be diligent and report any changes they see to the roadway surfaces. Our engineers and consultants have taken steps towards repairing and stabilizing the affected areas but this work takes time and is very hazardous.I therefore again, appeal to those who were victims of landslides and slippage during the passage of Tropical Storm Erika, to be especially vigilant and mindful of the fact that conditions around you could deteriorate in the event of the forecasted rainfall materializing.Today is but Monday, and I would caution you to be vigilant throughout Wednesday, so that by Thursday you would be in a better position to gauge and determine whether evacuation, in anticipation of Friday’s heavier rainfall, is necessary.I have summoned another meeting of all Parliamentarians for eight o’clock tomorrow morning. Here we would be hoping to get updated reports not only on relief and restoration, but also on continued vulnerabilities, as we approach this next bout of predicted bad weather.I want to say here that I was very impressed and satisfied with the overall sense of purpose and commitment of all Parliamentarians, particularly the Leader of the Opposition, Honourable Lennox Linton who has been most constructive in his interventions. I believe this formula of Parliamentarians working together in the face of adversity has served us well, thus far, during this repair and restoration period.I again urge residents in need of assistance to make contact with your Parliamentary Representative, as they are each in a position to access rapid help and relief on your behalf.Fellow Dominicans, Residents and Friends, I am confident that Dominica shall overcome those period of adversity. The last 10 days have been fantastic for us as a people. We have bounced back and we are in recovery and rebuilding mode. \Forecasted bad weather in the coming days should be seen as but another hurdle for us to cross in our quest to return to some level of normalcy.Dominicans abroad are rooting for us. Our Caribbean brothers and sisters have put their hearts, hands and resources to the plough. Many foreign nations and multilateral agencies have placed Dominica at the top of their priority list.The world, Ladies and Gentlemen, is rooting for us. Let us unite! Let us continue to work together to rebuild this beautiful country of ours.May God continue to Bless and Guide you. Let’s all pray for a shift in the trajectory of these additional weather systems. Let’s all reaffirm our faith in Almighty God to shield this land of ours.I thank you very much for listening…and May God Bless the Commonwealth of Dominica and all its people. I thank you. Sharelast_img read more