The regional arm of Caritas Internationalis is appealing to carpenters, masons and other skilled labourers from all over the world to volunteer in building over 100 timber core homes and to provide roof repair kits to 80 households affected by Hurricane Maria last September. The intervention is currently for the “most vulnerable” in the Grand Bay, Tete Morne and Montine areas of Dominica.
Diane Jhariah-Robinson, Emergency Co-ordinator of Caritas Antilles told Catholic News via e-mail that due to the shortage of building supplies and the severe shortage of labour, many people are still living under tarpaulins “and feel unprepared for the next hurricane season”. She said over 40 per cent of homes are still without electricity and communities are easily cut off whenever it rains heavily due to flooding.
“…Dominica is still in recovery and some basic services may be unavailable or limited in the areas of intervention,” Jhariah-Robinson said. Only 25 to 30 per cent of homes are repaired and this is mostly due to the unavailability of building materials and certified skilled construction workers.
Jhariah-Robinson explained, “Our request for volunteers is very recent. Initially we hoped to engage local Dominicans but there is a shortage of skilled labourers who are not already in with other contracts. So far, we have had inquiries from St Lucia, Trinidad, Jamaica and Grenada. No volunteers have been officially recruited yet.”
Volunteers will be required from June 1 to August 19. They may choose to work for the whole period or a portion depending on their availability. They will be hosted in very basic, shared accommodations or with host families. Persons who already have family or friends willing to host them in Dominica are encouraged to apply. Volunteers will be responsible for acquiring any necessary Visas to enter Dominica.
Interested persons should complete the online application form here: https://goo.gl/forms/cGl1nbHrajIviAey1 and also submit a Curriculum Vitae with at least two references outlining their education, skills and experience.
Jhariah-Robinson explained that the Government of Dominica is in the process of collaborating with the Cuban government to bring in 100 skilled construction workers to help with various government projects.
Collectively, the humanitarian sector has pledged over 5,000 interventions on the island. This she said includes repairs and new construction of homes and public buildings.
Additionally, she highlighted that there are many regional and international organisations that have been very instrumental in the rebuilding of churches, schools, the rehabilitation of the nature trails etc. Organisations that have contributed to Dominica’s recovery include the International Organisation for Migration, Samaritan’s Purse, IsraAid, Engineers Without Borders, Habitat for Humanity, Caritas Antilles/Catholic Relief Services, Adventist Development and Relief Agency, and United Nations Development Programme.
She mentioned that the Youth Emergency Action Committee (YEAC) groups from Grenada and St Lucia, which fall under Caritas Antilles, gave tremendous assistance in cleaning some churches and schools, and in the distribution of relief supplies.