Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : December 27th 2013 Contents A5
Friday, December 27, 2013 www.guardian.co.tt Guardian
In the aftermath of the destruction and
despair caused by a powerful weather sys-
tem, Dominicans have been piecing their
lives back together, says the island s acting
National Disaster Co-ordinator Don Cor-
In an interview with the T&T Guardian
yesterday, Corriette said reports that eight
people had died including an 18-year-old
college student in Dominica were incorrect.
"Reports in the media that we had eight
fatalities are totally untrue. We are very
thankful that no one died," Corriette said.
While Dominica had experienced heavy
rains for the past two and a half weeks
resulting in very saturated soil he said none
expected the devastation which began
around 2 am on Christmas Eve and ended
just after 9 am on Christmas Day.
Saying the southern part of the island
was severly hit, Corriette added: "It s really
one third of the island that was really badly
He said the torrential rains also triggered
35 small landslips.
Days of preparation were casually swept
away by the storm.
"It was a bleak Christmas Eve. People
obviously did not plan their Christmas to
be like this. It did cause level of distress and
anxiety leaving many not knowing what to
do next...we have tried our best to stabilise
the people," Corriette said.
Despite the fact that some 35 to 40 people
have been displaced Corriette said Dominica
generally had "bounced back."
"We have been doing all we can to help
those who have been displaced by giving
food, water, clothing, shelter...whatever is
the case we are doing what we need to
ensure families have some level of comfort.
"We have bounced back to the extent
where people have begun to resettle," Cor-
He said while the country was also getting
assistance from to Caribbean Disaster Emer-
gency Management Agency (CDEMA) based
in Barbados, Dominica was not ruling out
the possibility of asking T&T for help.
"This is an option we would be consid-
ering. Once we have conducted a full assess-
ment of the damage and needs our prime
minister would then take it from there.
"But right now we are liaising with
CDEMA which is co-ordinating support,"
Clean-up crews, he added, have been
working round-the-clock to ensure roads
were passable once again.
Corriette said it was too early to establish
a monetary figure for losses as the Domini-
can government was working with its various
ministries including works, housing and
agriculture to determine the extent of dam-
In July this year, tropical storm Chantal
also battered Dominica s southern tip.
The worst affected was the tiny southern
community of Gallion, where fewer than a
hundred people live.
In neighbouring St Vincent and the
Grenadines, which recorded eight deaths
mop-up operations were also under way.
The MSN news said among the dead was
a cousin of Prime Minister Ralph Gonsalves,
Cassian Gonsalves, who died Tuesday night
when a landslide crashed through his house.
The devastation prompted Gonsalves to
cut short a family vacation that had taken
him to England and Rome.
It was reported that in the heavily hit
area of North Leeward in northwestern St
Vincent, a family of five was killed when a
house was swept into their home.
As help poured in even from T&T, St
Kitts and Nevis Team Unity leader Dr Tim-
othy Harris yesterday expressed his con-
dolences to the families who lost their loved
Harris, a former minister of foreign affairs
and international trade, called for "special
"This tragedy gives us cause to offer up
special prayers for our brothers and sisters
in St Vincent and The Grenadines and to
reflect soberly, especially at this time when
people all over the world are celebrating the
birth of Christ Our Saviour."
C A D D
Secretary general of the Organisation of
American States (OAS) Jose Miguel Insulza
says he will convene other agencies to
mobilise a hemispheric response to assist
countries in the eastern Caribbean which lost
14 citizens and suffered major infrastructure
It was caused by more than ten hours of
continuous rainfall in St Lucia, St Vincent and
Six people died in St Lucia and eight in St
Vincent, including a relative of that country s
Prime Minister Dr Ralph Gonsalves. He was
expected to return home last evening after
reducing his Christmas vacation in Europe
because of the tragedy.
St Lucia Prime Minister Kenny Anthony
described the situation in his country as "a
human tragedy of immense proportions."
He told St Lucians it would be "a hard road
ahead for the country."
Deputy Prime Minister of St Vincent Girlyn
Miguel declared a Level 2 Disaster on the island
on Christmas Day.
And in a statement issued yesterday, Insulza
expressed his deep sorrow over the loss of life
and severe damage caused by unseasonably
heavy rainfall in Dominica, St Lucia and St
Vincent and the Grenadines.
He assured citizens in the respective Caricom
countries that the OAS "stands in solidarity
with them at this very difficult time."
"This is very bad news, even more that it
has occurred on Christmas Day," Insulza said:
"The unseasonable nature of the heavy rains
and flooding raises once again the impact of
climate change in the Caribbean region."
...No deaths reported, says official
back after floods
Members of the T&T Defence Force stand
ready to assist with clean-up operations which
resulted from a powerful weather system with
swept across St Vincent and the Grenadines,
St Lucia and Dominica on Christmas Day.
In a interview yesterday, National Security
Minister Gary Griffith said: "Once we get word
that St Lucia and St Vincent need our assis-
tance with clean-up operations, most definitely
we would be sending soldiers to help as we
have done in the past.
"That s part of our obligations as Caricom
countries," he added.
He said St Vincent Prime Minister Dr Ralph
Gonsalves was expected back into the country
yesterday and T&T was expected to be briefed
with a full report of the damage.
"We are still awaiting word from St Vincent
on what they need whether it be it food supplies
or help to clean up whatever is the case we
will be ready and will do whatever we can,"
Members of the media were invited to go to
St Lucia at 3 pm yesterday with Transport
Minister Stephen Cadiz via a Coast Guard
vessel but the trip was pushed back to mid-
Moonilal wants national
year of parental guidance
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