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Sep 25, 2017

Dominica P.M. Calls for Climate Change Fight

Roosevelt Skerrit

The Eastern Caribbean island nation of Dominica continues to recover from the ravages of Category Five Hurricane Maria which struck a week ago tonight. Its prime minister, Roosevelt Skerrit, has become the face of his nation’s suffering, openly crying on television as he told of his witness of the devastation his island had suffered. Taking a break to attend the seventy-second United Nations General Assembly in New York City on Saturday, Skerrit told his fellow world leaders that “the war” of climate change had come, and it is time to act. He declared that Hurricane Maria’s devastation has resulted in an international humanitarian emergency.

 

Roosevelt Skerrit, Prime Minister of Dominica

“Mr. President, warmer air and sea temperatures have permanently altered the climate between the tropics of Cancer and Capricorn. Heat is the fuel that takes ordinary storms – storms we could normally master in our sleep – and supercharges them into a devastating force. In the past, we would prepare for one heavy storm a year. Now, thousands of storms form on a breeze in the mid-Atlantic and line up to pound us with maximum force and fury. Before this century, no other generation had seen more than one category five hurricane in their lifetime. In this century, this has happened twice…and notably, it has happened in the space of just two weeks. And may I add, Mr. President, that we are only mid-way into this year’s hurricane season. In the case of Dominica, it has been only two years since we lost lives and endured substantial physical and infrastructural damage/from the ravages of the floods and mud slides of Tropical Storm Erika. Mr. President, to deny climate change, is to procrastinate while the earth sinks; it is to deny a truth we have just lived! It is to mock thousands of my compatriots, who in a few hours, without a roof over their heads, will watch the night descend on Dominica, in fear of sudden mud slides.. .and what the next hurricane may bring. We, as a country, and as a region/ did not start this war against nature! We did not provoke it! The war has come to us! Mr. President, my fellow leaders, there is no more time for conversation! There is little time left for action. While the big countries talk, the small island nations suffer. We need action….and we need it NOW, Mr. President!!”

 

Skerrit also called for more funds to be made available to countries affected by climate change by the Green Climate Fund, established by the United Nations, and the World Bank’s Caribbean Catastrophe Risk Insurance Facility which has already paid out millions in relief this year.

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