United Nations Secretary-General Joins Forces With Dominica During Unprecedented Visit To Survey Hurricane Devastation

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In an extraordinary act of solidarity and support, António Guterres has become the first-ever Secretary-General of the United Nations to visit the Commonwealth of Dominica in its fourty years of independence – following the country’s declared state of emergency. In what has been described as “worse than a war-zone,” the Secretary-General reaffirmed this notion on his assessment of damage in Dominica, describing the “systematic devastation” of an island once known for its unparalleled natural beauty:
“I have never seen anywhere else in the world [with] a forest completely decimated without one single leaf on any tree.”
The visit follows a rousing speech made by Prime Minister of Dominica, Dr Roosevelt Skerrit, at the recent United Nations General Assembly, where he called on nations to “let these extraordinary events elicit extraordinary actions.”
In a press conference with Prime Minister Skerrit on Sunday, the Secretary-General reinforced these notions:
“It must be clear that the level of support that Dominica requires cannot be achieved through the traditional instruments.
“In expression of the solidarity that this visit represents, [my concern is] to make sure that the international community fully recognises that the intensity of hurricanes […] is not an accident. It is the result of climate change.
“I regret to inform, the response has been poor. I urge donors to respond more generously in the weeks to come.”
He further commented that “extreme weather […] will be the new normal of a warming world,” urging nations to implement the Paris Agreement and to “show more determination in moving towards a green, clean, sustainable energy future.”
When asked about the efforts needed to rebuild Dominica, the Prime Minister stressed that restoration would not be possible without outside support:
“We are literally at the mercy of developed countries.
“We have to dig deeper into our consciences and recognise we ought not to leave a country like Dominica, without natural resources outside of its people, on its own to restore the 72,000 lives that have been shattered as a result of this hurricane.”
Secretary-General Guterres applauded Prime Minister Skerrit for his vision and wisdom in attempting to rebuild the nation as the first “green climate resilient country in the world.” He reaffirmed his ongoing dedication to Dominica’s plight:
“In whatever we will be able to do, the United Nations is entirely at your side.”
Prime Minister Skerrit is expected to travel to Washington D.C., where he will discuss the establishment of a Climate Resilient Nation Fund for Dominica together with representatives of the World Bank and the United Nations.

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