Heavy Rains Leave Widespread devastation on Christmas Eve

Reports indicate at least 5 dead, many homeless, bridges washed away, and roads impassible as a result of heavy christmas eve rains. Photography by Bill Mortley

Reports indicate at least 5 dead, many homeless, bridges washed away, and roads impassible as a result of heavy christmas eve rains. Photography by Bill Mortley

Full report from National Emergency Management Organisation (NEMO):

The National Emergency Management Organisation is in assessment and response mode following a weather event which lasted from the morning (around 6:00 am) of December 24th into the early hours (around 4:45 am) of December 25th, 2013.

Forecasters could not predict this weather event as the Met Services equipment has been compromised. Additionally radar equipment located in Martinique, on which Saint Lucia’s Met Services depends for weather forecasting, was down resulting in severely hampered ability to analyze and predict this weather event.

Reports indicate the Trough System resulted in 171.1 mm of rainfall within a 24 hour period ending at 8:50 am on December 25th, 2013.

Reports coming from disaster committees located in the towns and villages of Saint Lucia indicate the following:

Widespread and severe flooding in Central Castries, Bexon, Anse-La-Raye, Micoud, Vieux Fort, Dennery, Soufriere and other locales. Flooding has resulted in loss of personal property and business inventory.

Reports indicate Anse-La-Raye and Bexon were hardest hit by flooding.

The Canaries bridge has been confirmed damaged and impassable. The Piaye bridge is also confirmed impassable.

Several unconfirmed reports of loss of life attributable to the weather event have been received by NEMO. Most of the reports indicate individuals attempting to cross swollen rivers or flooded roads and other areas.

Deaths reported but currently unconfirmed:

  1. One unidentified male police officer from Vieux Fort while on duty – a wall may have collapsed on him.
  2. One unidentified male from Micoud. The body is at the Micoud Police Station.
  3. NEMO has also been informed of three (3) members of a family from Micoud who were caught in rising water while in their vehicle. In that situation two (2) adult males are unconfirmed dead; 1 female child (age unknown) is currently hospitalized.
  4. Another unconfirmed report informs of a death by electrocution in Dennery.

NEMO is awaiting confirmation of all reported deaths. Confirmation of death is given only by a medical doctor.

NEMO has deployed a damage needs assessment (DANA) flight via helicopter. The DANA team consists of NEMO personnel, a cameraman from the Government Information Service and flight personnel. The team has returned and photos and video footage has been handed over to NEMO for assessment and reporting purposes.

A team from the Ministry of Education is assessing the state of schools; Crisis Committees from the Ministries of Health and Tourism have been activated and will liaise with NEMO following their sector meetings.

LUCELEC has estimated approximately 15% of its customer base is without power. The company currently has several crews working in the field at the moment responding to “no power” calls in areas they can access, while other personnel are trying to determine how best to respond in difficult to reach areas.

Telecommunications via the Emergency Operating Centre and some of its District Emergency Management Committees is spotty as phone lines are reported down from Dennery to the south of the island.

USAID AND CDEMA Reps on island have reported into EOC to act as liaison between NEMO and their organisations, to provide technical/advisory and later financial support where necessary.

NEMO is urging all residents to remain indoors as sightseeing is NOT recommended under the circumstances. Emergency response personnel are already under pressure and should not be responding to self-created emergencies at this time.



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