Friday, December 27, 2013

Christmas deluge brings disaster to eastern Caribbean

Desmond Brown in IPS: Colleen James arrived in St. Vincent and the Grenadines from Canada two days before Christmas hoping to enjoy the holiday season with her family. Now she’s getting ready to bury her two-year-old daughter and 18-year-old sister.

“I never do nothing wrong. I always do good,” a dazed James told IPS as she looked out across the flood damage occasioned by a slow-moving low-level trough that brought torrential rains, death and destruction not only to St. Vincent and the Grenadines but St. Lucia and Dominica.

Disaster officials have so far recovered nine bodies and the search continues for three more people reported missing and feared dead. In St. Lucia, five people were killed, including Calvin Stanley Louis, a police officer who died after a wall fell on him as he tried to assist people who had become stranded by the floods.

The trough system resulted in 171.1 mm of rainfall within a 24-hour period ending at 8.50 a.m. on Dec. 25. Trinidad’s Prime Minister Kamla Persad Bissessar has requested that the Office of Disaster Preparedness and Management (ODPM) mobilise food and emergency supplies to be sent to St Lucia.

The CEO of ODPM, Dr. Stephen Ramroop, has contacted the Deputy Prime Minister of Saint Lucia Philip J. Pierre and received a list of items that were urgently required, including canned goods, biscuits, infant formula, water, mattresses, blankets, hygiene kits, disaster kits and first aid kits....No requests have come from the other affected islands as yet.

An image of rain in the Caribbean by Mary Hollinger, NOAA biologist

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