All posts by Steve Foerster

Writer, technologist, educator, entrepreneur.

Updates from the Government of Dominica Press Brief of 25 September 2017

Note: There will be a daily brief at 10 am.

  • Special charters from Barbados landing at 11 am at the Douglas Charles Airport. Relief supplies will be sent to undisclosed area to then distribute to cut off areas only.
  • Dutch and British ships docked will be filling water trucks to supply to communities to ensure they have a bulk supply.
  • PMH to be fully powered by tomorrow Tuesday 26th.
  • DOMLEC will focus on powering the essential service first, then move on to private residences.
  • DOWASCO’s main supply at Antrim is under works. The tanks are already full as they were shut off before Hurricane Maria. It will be functional tomorrow evening where there will be an assessment of leaks.
  • DOWASCO’s pipes at Marigot are mostly intact. Once access has been made, water will be restored.
  • Water system recovery at Portsmouth is still ongoing. Water is available in Veille Case. The Belles, Penrice, Sylvania water system will be fully restored tomorrow.
  • Digicel has 3 sites functional with limited service from Pointe Michel to Jimmit.
  • FLOW has service at DBS, Roseau, Canefield and Morne Daniel with coverage as far as Coulibistrie.
  • Vehicle access:
    • Melville Hall to Roseau through Canefield on to Castle Bruce through the KT.
    • Pond Case to Hatton Garden access will be functional by the end of the week.
    • Melville Hall to Portsmouth road is open.
    • Good Hope to Roseau is open.
    • Roseau Valley to Trafalgar to Roseau access by the end of today.
    • Roseau to the Wall house junction is open.
    • The Grandfond and La Plaine roads to Roseau are accessible.
  • Palestine Aid is in Marigot, providing hot meals and water etc.
  • There will be a call for persons to clean the roads. UNDP has committed $3 Million to facilitate the payment to these persons. There will be further information given within the communities where persons can show interest in doing so.
  • Confirmed deaths: 27, Confirmed missing: 27, Unconfirmed missing: 18 A list will be made public by tomorrow (tentatively).
  • Four prisoners escaped last night (3 on remand and 1 serving a term). 2 have been captured and are currently nursing gunshot wounds at the PMH.
  • 46 arrested looters. 86 arrested for breaking curfew. Curfew has changed from 4pm to 6am to 4pm to 8am.


Ethiopian-Born Air Canada Pilot Prepares to Rebuild Dominica 38 Years After He Rendered Aid to the Island Following Hurricane David

In 1979 Hurricane David devastated Dominica. Just days after that disaster, a young Greek-Ethiopian resident in Canada and barely out of his teens packed his bags, gathered some chain saws, and with other humanitarian-inclined Canadians, traveled to render aid to our island.

To make that sacrifice the young Demetrius Apokremiotis delayed his plans for flight school. After clearing roads and spending time helping Dominica, he has spent almost four decades as a pilot. Today the Air Canada pilot is making preparations to rush medical supplies and aid to Dominica with his Ethiopian friend Mel Tewahade, financial advisor to the Ethiopian Crown Council led by the grandson of Emperor Haile Selassie, Primce Ermias Sahle Selassie Haile Selassie.

This moving story of commitment to humanitarian service has brought tears to the eyes of many and mine. In the letter sent to Rebuild Dominica on September 22, 2017, Demetrius mentions a young boy “Danny Lugay” as playing music for him at the home of his hosts, the Lugay family of Goodwill. I know Danny Lugay, as we attended the Dominica Grammar School in the 1970s and lived not too far from each other. That same Danny Lugay is now Member of Parliament for Goodwill, the district in which Dominica’s main health care facility — the Princess Margaret Hospital PMH) — now lies in ruins. The aid being gathered with the leadership of Mel Tewahade and Demetrius Apokremiotis will aid the PMH rebuild, and serve the many Dominicans wounded by the cruel force of Hurricane Maria or those who are otherwise ill.

May this inspiring tale of service to humanity urge us on to redouble our efforts and aid those on Dominica and other parts of the Caribbean now suffering during this awful hurricane season of 2017.

Gabriel Christian, President
Rebuild Dominica


Dear Mel and Gabriel,
I was in Dominica shortly after hurricane David hit the island.  It is with great sadness that I witness the latest devastation brought upon the island by hurricane Maria.  We were a team of seven volunteers equipped with a set of chainsaws some hand tools and some food when we arrived.  The airports in  Antigua and Dominica were very chaotic and most of the people were just coming to term with the reality of the recovery mode.
After clearing roads etc we just started gathering the large size debris and cut it  to smaller usable sizes and began repairing the small houses in Roseau and later on in other towns.  Even though the people were dealing with a horrific trauma, they were extremely hospitable and kind.  I still cherish the fond memories of Daniel Lugay  the ultimate athlete and musician.  How his parents adopted our whole team and taught us to eat our food after it cooled down so we would not overheat.  I think they blessed us more than we blessed them.
I do not know how to get in touch with my old friends from Dominica.   I just want them them to know I am thinking of them, praying for them and hopefully will be back to help.
Captain Demetrius Apokremiotis
Captain Demetrius Apokremiotis

Letter from Mel Tewahade

Rebuild Dominica has received the following letter from Mel Tewahade, an Ethiopian-American businessman who is Financial Advisor to His Imperial Highness Ermias Sahle Selassie of the Ethiopian Crown Council.

Dear Gabe Christian,

At first I would like to thank our God for saving the people of Dominica from a total destruction and death by Hurricane Maria. It is unfortunate that 38 years after Hurricane David’s  vast destruction we are back again on the same spot. I am confident that with the help of God and our effort that we will rebuild Dominica.

On Tuesday, September 19, 2017, I requested assistance from my friend Dr. Doug Jackson, CEO of Project C.U.R.E. for Dominica. We are approved to send a shipment of emergency supplies valued at $400,000 to the island. Emergency container will have all non-electrical medical supplies. My company Infinity Wealth Management and the Law Firm of Gabriel Christian will underwrite the cost of shipping. In the container we are also trying to include chain saws, nails, tarps and a 150cc dirt bike to get around town.

Demet Apokremiotis, another Ethiopian who was already in Dominica 38 years ago for Hurricane David, will be going to Dominica as soon as the roads are cleared up and the runways are repaired. Demet is an Air Canada pilot who has extensive experience in Dominica including concrete work, placing tarps, and repairing roads. In 1979 Demet took a small group of Canadians to help Dominica. He delivered monies, and with the 9 chain saws that he took they were able to clear the road for the first time from the airport to town. Demet was so overwhelmed with the challenges that he postponed his own flight school graduation by another year by staying in Dominica for a full year. 38 years later we are in the same spot of again but by the grace of God and the help of its people we will rebuild Dominica.

It gives me a great pleasure to work with Rebuild Dominica.  We encourage all Caribbean people, African diaspora and African American and Americans to help our small island nation.

Mel Tewahade, CEO
Infinity Wealth Management

Message from the Embassy on the Passage of Hurricane Maria on the Commonwealth of Dominica

Note: The following message was received from the Embassy of Dominica in the United States.

Dear Fellow Nationals,

As you are aware, the Commonwealth of Dominica suffered severe damage from the passage of Hurricane Maria on Monday September 18, 2017. At this moment, the telecommunication network on the island is completely down and we have no contact with the island.  Below is the latest update from the Honourable Prime Minister’s post  on Facebook on Monday night :

Initial reports are of widespread devastation. So far we have lost all what money can buy and replace. My greatest fear for the morning is that we will wake to news of serious physical injury and possible deaths as a result of likely landslides triggered by persistent rains.

So, far the winds have swept away the roofs of almost every person I have spoken to or otherwise made contact with. The roof to my own official residence was among the first to go and this apparently triggered an avalanche of torn away roofs in the city and the countryside.

Come tomorrow morning we will hit the road, as soon as the all clear is given, in search of the injured and those trapped in the rubble.

I am honestly not preoccupied with physical damage at this time, because it is devastating… indeed, mind boggling. My focus now is in rescuing the trapped and securing medical assistance for the injured.

We will need help, my friend, we will need help of all kinds.

It is too early to speak of the condition of the air and seaports, but I suspect both will be inoperable for a few days. That is why I am eager now to solicit the support of friendly nations and organisations with helicopter services, for I personally am eager to get up and get around the country to see and determine what’s needed.

The Embassy of the Commonwealth of Dominica to the United States of America will continue to keep you updated on the status of the situation in the Commonwealth of Dominica as soon as we can establish communication with the country again.

Mass to Pray for the Success of Rebuilding Efforts in Dominica

Please join us at 11 a.m. this Sunday, September 27th, 2015 at the St. Joseph Catholic Church in Largo, Maryland for a Mass in memory of those who lost their lives during Tropical Storm Erika and to pray for the success of rebuilding efforts in Dominica.

St. Joseph Catholic Church
2020 St. Joseph Drive
Largo, MD 20774

Tel. 301-773-4838
Fax 301-773-6832

All are invited, please feel free to wear your Dominica colours or Rebuild Dominica shirts.