Hurricane-hit Dominica to get £5m in UK aid

The hurricane-hit island of Dominica is to receive £5m in UK aid to help the recovery effort, it has been announced.

The move brings the UK Government’s financial support for the Caribbean region ravaged by two tropical storms to £62m.

Damaged homes from Hurricane Maria are shown in this aerial photo over the island of Dominica
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Some 98% of the buildings on Dominica were damaged by Hurricane Maria

Category five Hurricane Maria battered the island of Dominica after making landfall last Monday, leaving 98% of buildings damaged and thousands without power.

Almost the entire 70,000 population has been affected.

International Development Secretary Priti Patel is touring the area to see the damage caused to a number of British islands by Hurricane Maria and Hurricane Irma.

Roseau, capital of the Caribbean island Dominica
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Almost the entire population of Dominica has been affected

Ms Patel announced the latest wave of British support as she visited the Royal Navy’s flagship HMS Ocean, which delivered 60 tonnes of UK aid to the Caribbean on Friday, almost doubling the amount of aid in the region.

“The UK has pledged to give £5m to the people of Dominica, the island worst hit by Hurricane Maria – on top of the £57m already promised to the region – to strengthen recovery following these relentless disasters,” she said.

“I have come to the British Virgin Islands and Anguilla to see first-hand UK aid in action, helping families whose lives have been ripped apart first by Hurricane Irma and then Maria.

“The UK is leading the way in the relief effort, delivering emergency food, water and shelter to those who need it most.

“We will continue to clear up after this devastation in the weeks, months and years to come.”

International Development secretary Priti Patel in DFID's Disaster Response Centre in Kemble.
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International Development Secretary Priti Patel is to tour the devastated region

Ms Patel will meet families in the British Virgin Islands who have been devastated by Hurricane Irma, and she will visit Anguilla to see UK efforts to get schools and businesses back on their feet.

The Government is also doubling any UK public donations made to the British Red Cross’ Irma and Maria appeals, a pledge which has so far raised more than £2m.

Royal Marines have been helping BVI residents in the aftermath of Hurricane Irma. Pic: MoD
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Royal Marines have been helping in the recovery effort. Pic: MoD

The pledge of UK aid comes after the prime minister of Dominica formally requested international support to address the devastation caused by Hurricane Maria.

It will go directly towards restoring health services and increasing access to healthcare in the most affected areas.

The UK is working with the UN, Red Cross and other organisations on the ground to distribute aid, including food, across Dominica.

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