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Caribbean nationals in US mobilise for flood aid

Monday, December 30, 2013

NEW YORK—Caribbean nationals in New York have mobilised urgent relief efforts to get needed supplies to islands in the Eastern Caribbean affected by deadly rains and flooding on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. At least 19 people were killed and there was major infrastructure damage in St Lucia, St Vincent and the Grenadines, and Dominica.


The St Lucia House Foundation and the St Lucia consulate in New York said relief donations—which are due to be delivered to the island today—include children’s and adults’ clothing, blankets, shoes, school supplies and diapers. 



“St Lucians in the tri-state pulled together with generous donations in the aftermath of Hurricane Tomas a few months ago, and I have no doubt that we will see them duplicate their last effort in assisting this time around,” said Curtis Brown, of the St Lucia House Foundation, which is working with the St Lucia consulate in New York to determine the immediate needs on the island and develop the list of relief supplies.


“Our prayers are with all those traumatised by the damage caused and in desperate need of food, medical supplies, water and shelter,” said foundation president Matthias Wilkie. “We hope that the government, agencies, churches and individuals will respond generously to help all those affected in order to recover and rebuild their shattered lives.”


In St Vincent, flooding and landslides caused by the heavy rains killed at least nine people and injured five others. Among the dead was Cassian Gonsalves, a cousin of St Vincent Prime Minister Ralph Gonsalves, who died on December 24 when a landslide crashed through his house. The extent of damage from rain and floods in St Vincent and the Grenadines and Dominica are being assessed by National Emergency Operations Centres reported the Caribbean Disaster Emergency Management Agency.


Dozens of homes and at least two hotels on Dominica were evacuated because of the danger of landslides and several roads were blocked by mud, according to the AP. Relief efforts to St Vincent and the Grenadines are being co-ordinated by that country’s Manhattan consulate. 



Other diaspora communities, such as the Caribbean-American residents of Houston, are pitching in, The Greater Houston Garifuna-American Partnership scheduled an event over the weekend to collect relief supplies for St Vincent and St Lucia flood victims. “We came together in the aftermath of Hurricane Tomas three years ago and were able to ship over 1,500 pounds of clothes, water, first aid supplies, food, etc. to aid in recovery,” said event organiser Nicke Joseph.


The Houston Caribbean Festival Radio Station was due to hold a live broadcast from a relief event at the city’s D’Vybz nightclub. The Caribbean Disaster Emergency Management Agency said National Emergency Operations Centres had been activated in Dominica, St Vincent and the Grenadines and St Lucia, and “damage and needs assessments are being conducted in each country.”


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