The Event:

The Dominica Office of Disaster Management has reported that the Clarke Hall-Layou River Valley area has been declared a disaster area due to the collapse of the Matthieu Dam on the Layou River. The incident occurred on Thursday July 28, 2011 at 12.30 a.m. So far there have been no reports of loss of life or serious injury. Two persons who were initially reported missing have been located.


•    Substantial damage to road, infrastructure, agriculture and utilities.  
•    Complete destruction of an agricultural propagation station.
•    Thirteen (13) private dwellings affected.
•    The center of the Clarke Hall Bridge has been washed away making it impassable.
•    The area from east to west of bridge is impassable

National Actions:

At present the situation is being managed locally.

The National Emergency Operation Centre (NEOC) was partially activated at 1:00 a.m. today, July 28, 2011 and an Incident Command Centre was activated at the site at 5:00 a.m.

The response agencies including Ministry of Public Works and Public Utilities, Ministry of National Security, Ministry of Health and the utility companies met at the NEOC and developed a plan of action.

A search and rescue team was deployed to the area between 1:30 and 10:00 a.m. to ensure that all residents were accounted for.  A follow-up mission will be conducted at 3:00 p.m. today.

Damage and Needs Assessment (DANA) teams have been deployed to the affected areas.

The main concerns at this time are:
•    contamination and pollution of the environment,
•    contamination of the potable water system,
•    disposal of the carcasses (marine and livestock),
•    heavy siltation (up to 6 feet deep) on the roads and,
•    chemical pollution from the destroyed agricultural station.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs engaged the French Territories who agreed to provide a helicopter and five (5) technical persons to conduct an aerial survey of the impacted area and support the local Search and Rescue efforts.

Regional Actions:

CDEMA received a briefing on the incident early this morning and so far maintained contact with the National Emergency Operation Centre.  No request for has made so far for the assistance of the regional system.

CDEMA will continue to monitor the situation and stands ready to provide technical support to the ODM if requested.

Updates on the situation will be provided as warranted.

The CDEMA 24 hour telephone contact number is 1-246-425-0386