US$500m in storm damage in St Lucia
CASTRIES, St Lucia – The St Lucia Manufacturers Association yesterday criticised Trinidad and Tobago’s Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar over remarks that aid to Caribbean Community countries badly hit by Hurricane Tomas must bring benefits to her country.
Persad-Bissessar paid her first visit to St Lucia yesterday since her election five months ago to get a first-hand view of the destruction caused by the storm that is also being blamed for the deaths of 14 people over the last weekend.
The Trinidad and Tobago leader yeaterday held talks with with Prime Minister Stephenson King after presenting a container of emergency supplies and undertaking a tour of the affected areas.
“We will stop at nothing in ensuring that our brothers and sisters in the region receive the level of support required in this time of urgent need,” she said in a short statement.
Prime Minister King said that his early “guesstimate” of US$100 million worth of damage inflected by the hurricane had risen to US$500 million and climbing since the initial tour by helicopter on Wednesday. He admitted that what he saw in the Soufriere hinterland especially “really and truly devastated my own psyche”.
Meanwhile, emergency supplies were continuing to arrive here from the regional and international community, even as the island struggled with critical water storages.
Communication and Works Minister Guy Mayers said that while excavation units, working round the clock, were finally able to reach the main Roseau Dam the level of destruction there would result in further delays in an adequate water supply.
“It’s going to take at least another week before we can get those pumps working again and in the meantime we will have to explore other means of making the vital resource available across the island.”
He said that while there were a few small catchment areas which would commence supplies of about four million gallons a day, the daily requirement for St Lucia was about nine million gallons. (CMC)