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St Lucians assess damage

CAROL MARTINDALE, [email protected]

St Lucians assess damage

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Twenty four hours after the “all clear” was issued following the passage of Hurricane Tomas, St Lucia is now assessing the damage.
 Several aerial reconnaissance flights reveal that large areas are affected by swollen rivers, landslides from excessive rainfall and damage caused by high winds
 Based on initial reports from District Disaster Committees, most parts of the island were affected by the Hurricane Tomas. . Reports range from fallen trees, damaged homes, area flooding to downed power lines, structural damage and unconfirmed deaths.
 Due to the slow movement of the hurricane over land, St Lucia experienced nearly 24 hours of battering by the storm. Residents are currently dealing with a massive clean-up of their homes, communities and businesses where it is safe do so. Electricity has been restored to several parts of the country and that process is continuing with St Lucia Electricity Services, LUCELEC.
 A release from the National Emergency Management Organisation, (NEMO) stated that telecommunications remains a challenge. The John Compton Dam remains inaccessible due to landslide with damage and loss of power reported to its pump house. LUCELEC and the Water & Sewerage Company, WASCO, are also working towards restoring the Dam to pre-storm capability for a safer and more reliable water supply.
 Residents are also urged to conserve water and boil their tap water before consumption in the interim. Loss of life has been reported in the Fond St. Jacques/Soufriere areas, but these reports remain unconfirmed pending positive confirmation through the Ministry of Health by the Chief Medical Officer – both areas suffered major land slippage with houses clustered together as a result.
 The Director of NEMO, Dawn French along with the Chairperson of the Disaster Assessment Needs Analysis Committee, Chamberlain Emmanuel, met with members of RNET, the Rapid Needs Assessment Team from CDEMA. RNET will be joined by IICA representatives later during their visit. 
 St Lucia’s agriculture industry, particularly bananas were severely affected, with 100% crop damage reported. Livestock fared better with reports of drowned cattle being slaughtered for sale. NEMO has issued a warning to the public to desist from the practice and to not purchase the meat from animals that have drowned during the storm. Additionally the Prime Minister issued a warning of arrest for anyone caught slaughtering dead animals for public sale.
 The Ministry of Education has issued a call for the closure of all schools for the rest of the week however commercial enterprises able to do business following the passage of Hurricane Tomas opened their doors to the public today.
 NEMO has currently received qualitative data on the state of the country by sector with a view to putting together a quantitative assessment which will assist the Saint Lucia Government in informing donor agencies about the level of financial assistance the country eventually receives. (PR)