OAS SG Voices Sorrow As Tragedy Strikes Eastern Caribbean


Damage in a section of St. Lucia. (ST. Lucia NEMO image)

News Americas, WASHINGTON, D.C., Thurs. Dec. 26, 2013: As the death toll from the Christmas Day flooding in Saint Lucia and Saint Vincent and the Grenadines reached an estimated 16, Secretary General of the Organization of American States (OAS), José Miguel Insulza, is expressing sorrow over the loss of life and severe damage caused by unseasonable rainfall in the Eastern Caribbean.

Heavy rains caused deaths and damage in Saint Lucia, Saint Vincent and Dominica, plunging the countries into mourning and a struggle for power and water. The storm began around 6 am on the morning of December 24th and ended in the early hours of Christmas Day, December 25th, 2013.
In St. Lucia, disaster officials confirmed that a police constable, Calvin Stanley Louis, was among seven who have so far died in the tragedy following 171.1 mm of rainfall within a 24 hour period.
Widespread and severe flooding were reported in Central Cas
tries, Bexon, Anse-La-Raye, Micoud, Vieux Fort, Dennery, Soufriere and other locales leaving an estimated 15 percent of St. Lucians into a black out.

In St. Vincent & the Grenadines, there have been nine confirmed deaths, including a two-year-old child, from the floods associated with the heavy rains and winds that began battering the islands on Christmas Eve. Five members from one household in St. Vincent reportedly died when a slope collapsed unto their house in Rose Bank.

The country’s National Emergency Management Organized declared Vermont Valley all the way down to Buccament Bay; Spring Village, Rose Bank and Dark View on the Leeward Side; South Rivers; O’Briens Valley and Spring Village-Georgetown disaster areas.
Dominica, Barbados and Grenada also reported flooding and damages but no loss of life.

In Dominica, The Office of Disaster Management reported that the southern part of the island from Scotshead to Laudat and Canefield, was affected by heavy rains and flash flooding resulting in a number of roads intercepted and homes affected. In particular the communities of Shawford/Fond Cani, Gutter, Bathe Estate, Newtown, Castle Comfort, Loubiere, Citronaire, Point Michel, and Soufriere were affected. The areas worst affected are in the southern Districts.

Barbados experienced heavy rains. According to the Barbados Meterological Service, rainfall from the system, which had dumped more than 3 inches of rain on the island.

SG Insulza expressed sincere condolences to the governments and the peoples of the affected countries on their loss and assured them that the Organization stands in solidarity with them at this very difficult time.

“This is very bad news, even more that it has occurred on Christmas Day. The unseasonable nature of the heavy rains and flooding raises once again the impact of climate change in the Caribbean region,” he added, noting that that he would shortly convene other agencies within the Inter-American system to mobilize a hemispheric response to the debilitating effects of what is becoming known as the Christmas Day rains in the southern Eastern Caribbean.

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