Erika storm kills more than 20 in Dominica

Tropical storm Erika claims at least 20 lives in Caribbean island of Dominica ahead of its arrival in Puerto Rico

Photo by: Reuters
Photo by: Reuters

City workers cut a tree that fell when Tropical storm Erica hit the area with heavy rains in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic

Tropical storm Erika caused floods and mudslides in Caribbean island of Dominica on Friday, leaving more than 20 dead and 31 missing, Dominican authorities have reported.

"There are additional bodies recovered but it is an ongoing operation," Dominican police chief Daniel Carbon said

"It will take us a couple of days to recover as many bodies as we can. So the count will increase."

Prime Minister of Dominica, Roosevelt Skerrit said in a televised address following the disaster that the physical damage of the storm was worse than initially thought, the country will be set back two decades because of the repair costs for the damaged infrastructure.

"This is a period of national tragedy," he said, adding that hundreds of homes, bridges and roads have been destroyed. "We have, in essence, to rebuild Dominica," Skerrit told the nation.

Roosevelt Skerrit who was in Saint Lucia when the massive storm hit the country, remained under criticism not to take measures to prevent loss of lives.

"There is no need to indulge in blaming others for what has happened in Dominica," Skerrit said in his address to the nation.  

Following the first stream, Florida Governor Rick Scott declared a state of emergency.

"We don't know how much land it's going to go over," Scott said at a news conference on Friday. "We don't know how much water we're going to get," he said.   

According to US National Hurricane Center, it is expected that the storm will move north across the island of Hispaniola in where the power of it would be weaken, hitting the mountains.  

The storm crossed Puerto Rico after killing at least 20 people in Dominica, knocking out power to more than 200,000 residents and caused more than $16 million of damage to crops.

TRTWorld and agencies