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300 homeless in St Vincent
St Vincent and the Grenadines (SVG) Prime Minister Dr Ralph Gonsalves says the deadly Christmas weather system that hit the island has created two St Vincent and the Grenadines—one normal, and the other anguished and pained. Gonsalves spoke to SVG media on Thursday and, according to I Witness News, he said people had lost their beds, furnishings, cooking utensils, stoves, fridges, laptops given by the State, books, clothing, shoes, “every single thing.”
“People are suffering, no question about it. Families which have been vulnerable within 24 hours have descended not just into poverty, but indigence,” he said. Gonsalves said supplies of pipe-borne water remained a major problem and more than 300 people were homeless, with about 240 living in emergency shelters.
Virgin Islands News Online reported last week that the SVG Association there had got the support of Rotary Clubs, Red Cross and private individuals to send containers of clothing, medical supplies and other non-perishable items to the flood-ravaged islands. Vincentians in the United States have also been responding to the calls to help those at home, following the disaster on Christmas Eve night.
NBC Radio of Guyana reported last week too that the government of Guyana had approved financial support for SVG and other islands affected by the weather trough. NBC Radio reported that US$100,000 had been approved for St Vincent and the Grenadines and St Lucia, and another US$75,000 for Dominica. The Guyana government had also put mechanisms in place for a disaster relief fund for the affected islands. The fund will allow citizens and organisations to make contributions to support relief efforts in the affected countries.
St Lucia News Online reported that the island’s Water and Sewerage Company (WASCO) had encountered more problems in the Micoud area because of continuing land slippage. “Crews carried material in the area to undertake repairs as the road was impassable. However, after the pipes were opened it was observed that most of the water was being lost beneath the slides.”
The report said WASCO, in conjunction with the Ministry of Health and the National Emergency Management Organisation, is setting up five 1,000-gallon tanks at strategic points. To bring relief to residents more quickly, the water company had decided to bypass the landslides and connect pipeline around them to get to the community. It said this would take two to three days. T&T has sent two 40-foot containers of supplies to St Lucia and also sent aid to SVG.