Residents of Capuchin will now benefit from an improved community center that will also serve as an emergency shelter.

The official handover ceremony took place on Tuesday, May 24, 2022.

The rehabilitation of this building is a collaboration between the Office of Disaster Management (ODM) and the Government of Canada and fits perfectly with the government’s vision to make Dominica the first nation resilient to climate change in the world.

Member of Parliament for Cottage Constituency, Hon. According to Reginald Austrie, this project is important as the Dominica Labor Party government continues to build the resilience of Dominica’s infrastructure.

“Hurricane Maria taught us that if we don’t do this right and do it right, we will be devastated every time because we really can’t help but get hit by a hurricane. But we hope that ‘with our resilient construction in terms of infrastructure, our roads, our bridges, our schools, our health centers, we will be able to add some resilience and we will be able to protect ourselves, our societies, our communities against any attack of this type that may arise in the future,” Hon. Austria said.

The MP talked about the plans that will be made to upgrade this building to create a safer place for residents in the event of a disaster.

“The long-term vision is really to continue to build on that and use it as a hurricane shelter. So now we’re working on funding so we can convert the extra space we have downstairs into hurricane shelter and expand this place as a learning resource center so that in the event of a disaster our students are not at a disadvantage, they will be able to use their computers, there will be running water, they will have reading books so they can continue their education and I think that’s a really noble idea,” explained the Pal Rep.

The Government of Canada has helped Dominica in many ways since Hurricane Maria hit in 2017. It has helped build schools across the island, making child-friendly schools a priority for students.

The Canadian government has once again demonstrated its commitment to helping Dominica become resilient to climate change.

The Canadian High Commissioner, Ms. Lilian Chatterjee, says she is happy that her country can help with the rehabilitation of this shelter.

“So I’m proud to see how our partnerships with Dominica are producing real tangible results, whether through the school reconstruction program, or through initiatives like this that help the community cope in the hours and days immediately following a disaster. As you know all too well, they are our friends and neighbors on whom we must rely immediately after a disaster; but hopefully this investment in Capuchin will make future events more manageable and also help you stay in touch with the rest of the country. The principle of friends and neighbors providing support is central to the Caribbean Emergency Management Agency’s approach to disasters, but in this case it is your CARICOM neighbors providing that support,” said said Ms. Chatterjee.

The Capuchin Community Center will also serve as an emergency operations center in the event of a disaster.

Mr. Mandella Christian, who is a program officer at the ODM, explained that the objective of the project was to equip the inhabitants of the area with the resources necessary to manage disasters.

“Given the distance from the National Emergency Operations Center, we have seen fit to equip the community to improve their capacity and ability to manage disasters and conduct emergency response operations in a coordinated and also to strengthen the resilience of their operations. The objective of this project was therefore to establish an emergency operations center in the north of the Capuchin region and not only to establish it, but also to equip it with emergency power, drinking water rescue and even an emergency communication system,” noted Mr. Christian.

The total cost of the project was over one hundred and fifty thousand dollars.

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