Eastern Caribbean Islands Hit by Flooding Over Christmas


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Torrential rains and strong winds caused by an unexpected low level trough system passing through the Eastern Caribbean between 23 December and Christmas day 2013 caused flooding, landslides and damage to critical infrastructure and homes on the islands of St Lucia, Dominica and St Vincent & the Grenadines.

At least 15 people were left dead (six in St Lucia and nine in St Vincent & the Grenadines), another five people were reported missing, and hundreds of people were displaced to temporary shelters. Around 220 000 people in total were affected by the severe weather.

Over 400mm of rain fell on St Vincent in a 24-hour period and triggered massive flooding and huge landslides. St Vincent Prime Minister Ralph Gonsalves’ cousin Raymond was one of the people killed by the landslides.

In St. Lucia, Calvin Stanley Louis, a police officer, who died after a wall fell on him as he tried to help people stranded by floods, was one of the six people killed by floods on that island.

The government of St Vincent & the Grenadines declared a Level Two Disaster and reported damage to health facilities, infrastructure, housing, water and sanitation services, roads and bridges.

Prime Minister Gonsalves, who cut short his Christmas holiday in London to return to his office, stated that the issue of water was the most critical, immediate human need, and that the country’s 42 water trucks “are still not enough to deal with the problem.”

“We will work to make our country better than it is and to use this challenging period to lift ourselves and to carry ourselves to higher heights,” Gonsalves concluded.

floods dominica
Floods in Dominica. Photo: Global Voices

 

Sources: Relief Web; IPS News