Kianna Malcolm: A True Survivor

The Augustin family: Davis (l), Christiane (c) and Kianna (r).

The Augustin family: Davis (l), Christiane (c) and Kianna (r).

The events of last year’s Christmas Eve trough are still relatively fresh in our memories. None moreso than Kianna Malcolm. Kianna had a nightmare of an experience on that day, which has left an indelible impact on her.

The unpredicted natural disaster had monumental effects on the lives and livelihoods of many Saint Lucians as they lost their belongings, others their homes and assets. Unfortunately, 11-year-old Kianna got a firsthand experience of the destructive force of such an event, when she lost her father and uncle to the raging currents of a tiny stream turned ferocious torrent.

Kianna was heading to Vieux Fort, along with her father Davis Augustin, 33, and her uncle Desmond Augustin, 37, when their car plunged beneath the road, which had caved in after floodwaters inundated the tiny culverts below and eroded away a section of the highway.

We spoke to Kianna’s mother, Christiane Augustin, who informed us of her daughter’s progress since the incident.

STAR:  What was your daughter’s explanation for what transpired on that tragic night?

CA: My husband Davis had gone to meet Kianna in Desruisseaux and was on his way to meet me at work so we could head to Soufriere. His brother Desmond was also with them at the time.

According to my daughter, they had a flat tyre at the Desruisseaux gap. Since it was raining, they waited for the rain to subside a bit, changed the tyre and then left.

They continued on their way and when they got to the bridge the car just sank. When the car went down into the water, [Kiana] and her father managed to get her out of the car. Her uncle was sleeping when it all happened. Her father tried to keep her afloat but he couldn’t because the water drifted them apart and that’s all she could remember.

STAR: How has your daughter coped after the incident? Was she given any counseling?

CA: She got a lot of counseling at Jude’s Hospital. She couldn’t sleep so she had to take sleeping pills to aid with that. Ever since she saw her father at the funeral she began to sleep. While she was admitted at the hospital she was longing to see him. She watched telebituaries and cried every day.

On the day of the funeral, [Kianna] went to view his body and from then she has been able to sleep.

She has been doing much better after that, the only problem is whenever it
rains she puts her hands on her ears to try to block out the sound. But apart from that, she’s been doing great.

STAR: How much of an effect did the incident have on her at school and on her academic performance?

CA:  Her performance dipped a little, and her teacher said that she kept to herself and didn’t really mingle with the students, but now she is back to her normal

self. She has got her grades back up
and she was able to sit the Common Entrance examinations. She looks to be mentally and physically sound, so she is okay.

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