The Barbados-based Caribbean Disaster Emergency Response Agency (CDEMA) has activated the Regional Response Mechanism to provide a Level II response to St Vincent and the Grenadines, St Lucia and Dominica which were seriously affected by a low level trough system that passed Christmas Eve and into Christmas Day.
CDEMA explained that while a Level II event does not overwhelm a country’s capacity to respond, 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,” it said in a statement.
The heavy rainfall caused by the trough led 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, loss of life. Water, power and telecommunication services were also been interrupted.
Information from St. Vincent and the Grenadines indicates that eight people have been confirmed dead as a result of landslides and flooding, while another five remain missing.
In St Lucia, where at least 400 mm of rainfall have been recorded in some areas, six 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.
The CDEMA Coordinating Unit is also coordinating closely with the Pan American Health Organisation (PAHO) to address health-related issues in those two countries.
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 blocked roads, homes and interrupted electrical power supplies.
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. Meantime, work has begun to restore power and water supplies, open up blocked roads and repair damage to critical infrastructure.
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 already mobilized emergency aid.