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ODPM to deliver toys for children as T&T sends emergency supplies to St Lucia

Friday, December 27, 2013
Residents look on yesterday as water gushes past them, at the now destroyed Piaye bridge in St Lucia. The bridge was destroyed as a result of severe flooding on Christmas Eve. Photo courtesy St Luce News Online

The Office of Disaster Preparedness and Management (ODPM) yesterday sought to meet the immediate needs of citizens of St Lucia, and also spread some Christmas cheer to children, sending food and drink as well as toys to the island that was devastated by flooding on Christmas Day. St Lucia, St Vincent and the Grenadines and Dominica were ravaged by flooding due to a powerful weather system which left 14 people dead—eight in St Vincent and six in St Lucia.



Yesterday, Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar visited St Lucia, the only island to request assistance from T&T, and also mandated the ODPM to assist with emergency supplies. The PM requested that the ODPM mobilise foodstuff and emergency supplies to be sent to St Lucia which was badly affected by the inclement weather on Christmas Eve. Persad-Bissessar is chairman of Caricom, and lead Prime Minister on security in the region.


St Lucia requested emergency supplies from T&T, including canned goods, biscuits, infant formula, mattresses, blankets, hygiene kits, disaster kits and first aid kits. The country made an urgent request for drinking water and yesterday officers of the T&T Air Guard made two trips to the island to deliver 100 cases of water. Rear Admiral Richard Kelshall, head of security to Caricom, accompanied the Air Guard to the island. 


Transport Minister Stephen Cadiz organised for a ferry to take the other emergency supplies to St Lucia. CEO of the ODPM Stephen Ramroop, in a brief telephone interview yesterday, said the ODPM would also be delivering toys to children who may have been deprived of Christmas gifts because of the flooding. He said five pre-positioned and pre-packed 40-foot containers filled with emergency supplies would be shipped to the island and would reach the destination by today.


“Items necessary for immediate mobilisation have been placed in these containers and warehouses,” Ramroop said. “With the assistance of the Supermarkets Association, water manufacturers and other key suppliers of emergency goods and services, the ODPM is mobilising the necessary stuff to be sent to St Lucia in the shortest possible time.” 



According to a release from the ODPM, one of its five pre-positioned and pre-packed containers would have been sent immediately while another would have been sourced to send 150 mattresses. No requests have come from the other affected islands as yet.


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