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Statement by Prime Minister Skerrit on Hurricane Maria

The following is a statement made at 11:15 am by Prime Minister Skerrit on Hurricane Maria as the category three hurricane approaches Dominica.

I want to say to Dominicans that this is not a time for heroism. This much water in Dominica is dangerous given our terrain and therefore persons should not wait for something to happen in order to take action.

I want to make this very important point that the next few hours should be placed on cleaning up the house, the property rather than stockpiling weeks of food and other supplies.
This is not a system, based on advice, that will linger very long, therefore the goal must not be on stockpiling supplies but the mitigating damage caused by flying objects as well as fallen trees, shrubs etc.

Our focus now should be on removing all of the potential hazards around our homes and around our communities to mitigate against potential damage to our properties and even to ourselves.
I wish to ask citizens that we should not jam up the phone system with non-essential phone and data use. All the video footage can wait until the system has passed. All of us in Dominica know the scene to expect, let us minimize the use of phone system to essential services, and relatives and friends overseas can monitor the welfare and well-being of loved ones. Minimize idle chats and use of phones particularly large data files.

Please survey your communities now and think especially of any elderly or indigent person whom the authorities may not have reached who you feel could have been exposed or vulnerable in this conditions. Go now and check on them and if possible, invite them to your home or offer to take them to a nearby shelter.

I want to also say to the citizens that the Ministry of Health has fully activated its emergency system and they have confirmed that all of their health systems are in place and they have sufficient and adequate supplies to treat our citizens if the need arises.

I am also appealing to all that we should treat the approaching hurricane very seriously, take no chances. As I said yesterday, I know we have prepared for numerous hurricanes this hurricane season and none has visited us thus far, let us not take this hurricane approaching us for granted, let us take it seriously and use the time that we have to prepare ourselves adequately.
The State will not allow any lawless action in this country. The Chief of police will give you the public and inform you on the arrangements for securing the State, its citizens and its residents.

I want to also say to you that the State is also preparing in advance, and we have prepared all of the necessary legal instruments in the event we have to declare a curfew in either the whole country or parts of the country to avoid any lawless action by those who wish to engage in such. I have been in touch with His Excellency the President on this matter.

We want to say to residents who are in flood-prone areas should move to safer locations. Do not wait for the river to overflow its banks and then you try to cross the river or go through the flooded streets. Move to either the homes of friends and relatives or a nearby shelter.

We have also, with the help of the Ministry of Public Works and Public Works Co-operation, and in conjunction with the heavy equipment operators in the country, we have placed heavy equipment in strategic locations.

I will say finally that we believe the State has done all that it could humanly do in preparing the State for this approaching Hurricane Maria. The safety of yourself and your families remain largely in your hands, and therefore you need take all the precautionary measures to protect yourselves and your family and property from any harm or danger.

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