09242017Headline:

Erika kills at least 20, destroys hundreds of homes in Dominica

At least 20 people have been killed and hundreds of homes have been destroyed after Tropical Storm Erika impacted the Caribbean country of Dominica, Prime Minister Roosevelt Skerrit said in an address to the nation on Friday.

An unknown number of people remain missing as some communities have not yet been reached by rescue personnel. Skerrit, after touring parts of the affected areas, said the devastation across the island may have set back Dominica's development process by 20 years, calling it a national tragedy.

"There is extensive damage across our small island after floods swamped villages, destroyed homes and wiped out roads. Some communities are no longer recognizable," Skerrit said. "It was a harrowing experience for me to see suffering on such a grand scale. My heart and soul grieve for you."

The prime minister called on citizens to help with the recovery efforts, and called on the international community to provide aid.

"As I moved around today there is evidence of widespread damage to highways, complete bridges have washed away, motorized access to several communities has been considerably reduced and in some instances has vanished altogether. We have, in essence, to rebuild Dominica," Skerrit said.

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