Nation e-Edition

Travel alerts issued

Travel alerts issued Tomas destroyed this house in St Lucia. (Guest Photo)

Fri, November 05, 2010 - 1:47 PM

The United States has issued travel alerts to citizens traveling to and residing in St Lucia and St Vincent and the Grenadines, saying that Hurricane Tomas “caused significant damage to these countries”.

The Department of State said “St Lucia's Prime Minister declared a state of emergency, and reports indicate that St. Lucia’s transportation and communication infrastructure was seriously affected”.

It said that the travel alert expires on December 1.

“There are no reports of US citizens killed or seriously injured in the storm or its aftermath.  However, major roads and bridges on the islands are closed due to landslides and flooding, making transportation around the island extremely difficult or impossible,” the statement said.

“Cell phone towers are down, resulting in limited communication, and some areas do not have electricity or water,” it added.

The State Department said St. Lucian authorities were working to restore services as soon as possible, adding that both airports on the island are open, but operating at limited capacity.

“US citizens should contact their tour operator, airline, or hotel for further information on the situation before traveling,” it said.

The State Department urged US citizens who choose to travel to St. Lucia, despite the travel alert, to enroll with its travel registration website.

“St. Vincent and the Grenadines also experienced significant damage due to Hurricane Tomas in the northern part of the country, but areas generally frequented by travelers were not severely impacted,” the State Department said.

Meantime, the St. Lucia Tourist Board (SLTB) said the storm-ravaged island will remain closed to cruise ships through at least Sunday, affecting vessels from nearly half a dozen lines.

 “A comprehensive clean up exercise and restoration of critical infrastructure is underway,” the SLTB said, adding “it is estimated that the country and its vital tourism industry will be back to normalcy by Friday, November 12, at which time the island will be in a position to welcome all visitors in its usual legendary fashion.”

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