The CDEMA Participating States of Saint Lucia, St. Vincent & the Grenadines and Dominica have been experiencing heavy rainfall and high winds through Monday 23rd to Wednesday 25th December, 2013, caused by a Low Level Trough System.
The high rainfall has lead to flooding and land slippage in the affected countries, resulting in significant damage to critical infrastructure such as roads, health centres and airports, damage to homes and regrettably, lost of life. Water, power and telephony services have also been interrupted.
Information from St. Vincent and the Grenadines indicates that eight (8) people have been confirmed dead as a result of landslides and flooding, while another five (5) remain missing. Emergency shelter has been provided for sixty-two (62) persons. The E. T. Joshua Airport and Milton Cato Memorial Hospital have also been affected. In Dominica the main impact has been to the southern part of the island from Scotshead to Laudat and Canefield, where flash flooding and land slippage have blocked roads, homes and interrupted electrical power supplies. In Saint Lucia, where at least 400 mm of rainfall have been recorded in some areas, six (6) deaths have been reported; roads and bridges have also been severely damaged, cutting off access to many communities. Water and power supplies have also been disrupted.
National and regional response systems have been mobilized to respond to the emergency. The National Emergency Operations Centres (NEOC) have been activated in Dominica, St. Vincent and the Grenadines and Saint Lucia.
Damage and Needs Assessments are being conducted in each country to develop a realistic picture of the extent of the damage and the most pressing needs. Emergency shelters have been activated to house affected families. Work has begun to restore power and water supplies, open up blocked roads and repair damage to critical infrastructure.
The Regional Response Mechanism has been activated to provide a Level II response. A Level II event does not overwhelm a country’s capacity to respond but the affected state may require some external assistance. The CDEMA Coordinating Unit (CU) is liaising with the Government of Barbados, which functions as the Sub-Regional Focal Point for the Central Sub-Region, to coordinate the response to this event. The CDEMA CU has provided briefs on the event to the CARICOM Secretary General, CDEMA Participating States and partners and continues to facilitate the coordination of relief efforts as required. Engineering technical support has been placed on standby, through the University of the West Indies, to be available to the affected states on request. The CDEMA Coordinating Unit (CU) is also coordinating closely with the Pan American Health Organisation (PAHO) to address health-related issues in Saint Lucia as well as Saint Vincent & the Grenadines.
Other CDEMA Participating States are on stand-by to assist the affect countries, as part of the regional response mechanism. The Government of Trinidad and Tobago has mobilized an initial supply of bottled water for St. Lucia intended for delivery today December 26th, 2013.
The Executive Director is also proposing to conduct high-level missions to the affected CDEMA Participating States over next few days.