August 26, 2015, a day that no Dominican will ever forget. It was on this day that Tropical Storm Erika wreaked havoc on the island leaving behind destroyed homes, washed away bridges and serious fatalities. These destructions were especially grave in the province of Petite Savanne where the Government of Dominica had to declare the place unsafe and uninhabitable.
“Before Erika, we still lived a good life. We had what we wanted.”
Life in Petite Savanne was good and the land provided the needs of its people. However, with TS Erika destroying their homes and farmlands which were their source of livelihood, there was really nothing left for them in their hometown.
Months after the storm, the Government of Dominica entered into an agreement and signed a contract with Montreal Management Consultants Est. (MMCE) to build a housing development called the Petite Savanne Resettlement Program with the purpose to relocate the residents of the wiped-out town. Dr. Anthony Haiden, CEO of MMCE, wanted to extend assistance and give back to the country he considers a second home and came up with the brilliant idea of building climate-resilient homes and an integrated community that promotes camaraderie and a healthy and secure environment for the people.
“When I look at my new house in Bellevue Chopin, I can’t help but compare it with what I had in Petite Savanne. In Petite Savanne, as soon as it rains, your heart starts pumping because you know the danger of what may happen. Because if anything, you cannot live in that community because it is prone to landslides all over the place. But in here I sleep peaceably with my family, we have no fear, rain falls we have no fear.”
Fast forward to today, there is now over 200 families from Petite Savanne and other towns of Dominica living in the settlement. Residents are happy, contented, comfortable and most of all, they feel safe in their new homes.
“We are safer than where we were before.”
These families have been given a chance to start anew in Bellevue Chopin Housing Community. They are now back on their feet creating new memories, venturing in different business opportunities and enjoying a good night’s sleep in the safety of their new homes.
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