Dominicans make significant contribution to Haiti relief effort

Roseau, Dominica – The Government and people of Dominica are making a significant contribution to the people of Haiti in the aftermath of devastating earthquake which struck the country on January 12th 2010.

As of Friday, January 29, 2010, the Government and People of Dominica had contributed in excess of 1,300 cases of bottled water and more than 1,700 boxes of dry goods. These include emergency relief supplies, comprising 20 tonnes of bottled water and 30 tonnes of dry goods at the Woodbridge Bay Port ready for shipping to Haiti. As of February 5, 2010, there are about 73 tonnes of supplies all set for shipping to Haiti.

In addition to this consignment of goods, there has been in Dominica an incredible outpouring of generosity in terms of cash contributions and based on information from the Red Cross, LIME, Digicel, DAIC, and NBD over $250,000 EC has been collected so far in support of the Haitian relief effort.

The Ministry of National Security, Immigration and Labour, on behalf of the Government of Dominica expresses sincerest gratitude to the Dominican people and the Corporate Citizens who have contributed so generously to the relief effort for the Haitian People.

The first consignment of emergency supplies from Dominica for the Haiti Disaster Relief Response as a result of the January 12, 2010 earthquake was scheduled for shipping on Friday, January 29, 2010. Shipping arrangements had been made for having the relief supplies transported to Haiti via Jamaica on board the vessel, CONRAD-S of the CMA CGM/Cagema Liners. Upon arrival of the CONRAD–S in port, the Ministry learned that the ship had a three-day transit voyage to Savannah, Georgia before traveling to Jamaica

This transit through a US port created tremendous difficulties as the US Customs requires 24-hour notice of manifested cargo whether in transit or consigned to the United States. A violation of this requirement could result in severe penalties for the Shipping Agent and the Shipping Line.

Being confronted with the situation, every effort was made that day in seeking the assistance of the Georgia Port Authority and the US Coastal Border Protection Agency in getting the containers loaded unto the ship. Although we were able to receive late in the afternoon their verbal approval for loading the relief supplies, the shipping line and the shipping agent however felt that it was too risky to load the supplies without written consent of the US Authorities. In this regard we wish to express our profound appreciation for the tremendous effort made by Mr. Chris Rice of the Georgia Port Authority in liaising with the US Customs and the US Shipping Agents for CMA CGM/Cagema Liner in attempting to facilitate the loading of the containers onto the ship.

Meanwhile arrangements have been made to have the goods shipped to Haiti on the next calling of the CMA CGM/Cagema Liner which is due to arrive on February 12, 2010. The Caribbean Disaster Emergency Management Agency (CDEMA) through the Regional Security Service (RSS) is also seeking to coordinate the services of sea freight services within the region to transfer all supplies from the Caribbean to Haiti via Jamaica.

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