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27 dead, 18 still missing
ROSEAU—Dominica’s police chief says the death toll following the passage of Hurricane Maria has now risen to 27.
Police Chief Daniel Carbon, who made the disclosure during a press conference here early yesterday, said 18 people have also been confirmed missing.
Concerning security, he noted that the police have been kept busy with the latest incident being a prison break that took place late Sunday in which four people escaped. However, he said two were captured shortly afterwards by members of the police force.
Carbon added that another challenge is that of “massive looting” in the capital and other sections of the island.
“I can report that immediately following the passage of Hurricane Maria we have had massive looting. Several business places in the city of Roseau and to a less extent in the town of Portsmouth had looting.”
He said that to date 40 arrests have been made in relation to criminal matters and 86 people who violated the curfew have also been arrested.
But Carbon stressed that the situation is under control, thanks to the help being given by security personal from across the Caribbean.
“As the Prime Minister has stated, the police force was very challenged, both as it relates to search and recovery and dealing with the massive looting, but we now have the situation under control, we have our regional colleagues here and they are helping us in that regard.”
Also speaking was deputy police chief Davidson Valerie, who lamented that young people were involved in looting.
“Many of them were searching broken premises and looting from them – primarily business places. We were able to put the situation under some level of control and quell the problems that were emerging from the looting. Despite our repeated efforts on many occasions, the mobs would move from one location to another…”
Valerie also stressed the importance of observing the curfew.
“We must not catch any resident on the streets, at 4 pm (local time), residents must be home. When the police find anyone outside without a permit – you will be arrested if you do not have a permit. This must be obtained from the chief of police. They must remain inside until eight o’clock in the morning. We as the police, will continue to do our best that during this recovery process, crime is minimised as much as possible.”
Prime Minister Roosevelt Skerrit, in a statement, assured the country that the distribution of supplies is one of the top priorities of his administration at this time.
“We are getting additional help from helicopters … once we get the supplies, that will come from the planes to the helicopters—hey will be distributed to the people in masses.”
He also appealed for order.
“What we are seeking to get from the residents is order. Yesterday we did a fantastic job. We are attacking this from land, from air and from sea.
“Every single community, every single family, every single home and street will be reached by the authorities in providing supplies. Our clear instruction is for the equitable, non discriminatory distribution of supplies. We have lots of supplies coming in today and throughout the rest of the week …” he said.
“We thank God for sparing so many of our citizens.” (CMC)