St. John Mobilizes Relief Drive for Storm Stricken Dominica

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Maggie Metor and Eulie Louis greet St. John residents who opened their wallets on Saturday, September 5, to support several collection efforts underway around the island for residents of Dominica after the island suffered serious damage from the tropical storms that have swept the region in recent weeks.

“People have been very generous,” Metor said.

At least 11 people died and hundreds were injured after a Tropical Storm Erica inundated Dominica on Aug. 27. Donations of clothes, nonperishable food items, baby supplies, bedding and other items are also being accepted by local relief workers.

 

CRUZ BAY ­— Every day Virgin Islanders opened their hearts, the wallets and their closets last week on behalf of their friends and neighbors in Dominica. Across the territory efforts began to assist those who had lost lives and property during the passage of Tropical Storm Erika in Dominica on Aug. 27.

An estimated 20 people lost their lives when torrential rains flooded the land of 365 rivers. Homs collapsed, infrastructure — bridges and dams — failed. At least one Domican national, living on St. Thomas, told a civic group betwen seven and eight villages have been left strandeed as a result of the damage.

Local Dominican groups like Waseen Dominique and the UVI Dominican Student’s Association immediately formed a relief drive, and with the help of local businesses and Gov. Kenneth Mapp, launched an appeal.

Virgin Islanders responded, dropping off supplies of water, clean clothing, bedding, baby supplies, non perishable food and cleaning supplies. Irene John-Lewis, one of the organizers working to pack up donations, has been at it non-stop since Aug. 30. Each afternoon she appears at a shed behind O’Henry’s Dry Cleaner on St. Thomas to begin hours of sorting and folding.

“I was very surprised  by the people of the Virgin  Islands. I never thought I  would  see so  many  people  bringing  so much stuff, “ she said.

The Community Foundation of the Virgin Islands has been channeling donaions made in the form of check to the Dominican government.

Gov.Kenneth Mapp held a press conference Sept. 2, saying the territory is committed to helping the island nation in the wake of devastation caused by the passage of Tropical Storm Erika. The first trailer of goods shipped from the U.S. Virgin Islands to Dominica included pallets of bottled drinking water donated by Mapp’s administration.

The governor pointed out that thousands of Dominican nationals have made the Virgin Islands their home and in helping those in the devastated areas, Virgin Islanders are helping their friends and neighbors.

St. Johnians taking the commuter ferry have been greeted by signs directing them to drop off goods at Fred’s Restaurant and over the Labor Day Weekend to various collection points.
John-Lewis said another 40-foot trailer is being prepared for shipment by the end of the second week in September.