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Guyana on standby to assist flood-ravaged Caribbean islands

People had to be rescued from cars in Bexon on St Lucia (BBC photo)

Guyana is on standby to assist several Eastern Caribbean islands where several persons have died and infrastructure damaged due to severe rains, heavy winds and floods, the Foreign Ministry said Thursday night.

“The Government of Guyana will continue to monitor the situation reports from the Caribbean Disaster Emergency Management Agency with a view to supporting the recovery efforts of the affected Member States of the Eastern Caribbean,” the ministry said in a statement.

No details were provided about the form of assistance but in the past Guyana has deployed soldiers as part of a Caribbean contingent to islands such as Grenada and Montserrat that have been ravaged by hurricanes. 

Oil-rich Trinidad and Tobago has already announced that it would be aiding in recovery efforts. Dominica, St. Lucia, and St. Vincent and the Grenadines have been badly affected by the poor weather conditions dating back to Christmas Eve.

The British Broadcasting Corporation reported that eight persons were killed in St. Vincent and the Grenadines where there have been heavy flooding and landslides. In St. Lucia, one policeman was killed while reportedly trying to save persons who were in difficulty after torrential rain Christmas Eve. The bodies of four other persons were found.

Guyana’s Foreign Ministry stated President Donald Ramotar on Thursday in telephone call to Prime Minister of St. Lucia, Dr. Kenny Anthony extended sympathy on the loss of lives and damage to property and infrastructure caused by the severe rains and heavy winds which swept over the Eastern Caribbean during the past two days.

Ramotar was unable to reach the Prime Minister of St. Vincent and the Grenadines, Ralph Gonsalves “on account of communication difficulties.” St Vincent and the Grenadines was  also severely affected by the weather system with lives lost and several communities across the  country affected by power outages and cut off by damaged bridges and blocked roads.

The Caribbean Disaster Emergency Management Agency Thursday afternoon reported that:

Severe rains and high winds due to a Low Level Trough System would have impacted the  Participating States of CDEMA’s Central Sub-Region of Saint Lucia, St. Vincent and the Grenadines and Dominica through Monday 23rd to Wed 25th December, 2013.

 The synopsis by the Caribbean Institute of Meteorology and Hydrology (CIMH) stated that a  small low level trough had moved into the Eastern Caribbean under the influence of a mid to upper level trough. The orientation of the eastern side of the upper level trough had significantly enhanced showers and thunderstorm activity over the states of the Eastern Caribbean.

Between December 23rd and 24th  Dominica, Grenada, St. Vincent and the Grenadines and St. Lucia began reporting heavy showery activity with accumulations over that 12 to 24 hours  period recorded at 406 mm in Burton, St. Lucia, 156 mm in Grenada, and 109 mm in St Vincent.

PROGNOSIS:

Reports of severe damage due to high winds, torrential rains and overflowing rivers were  received from Dominica, Saint Lucis and St. Vincent and the Grenadines. According to the  Barbados Meterological Service, rainfall from the system, which had dumped more than 3 inches of rain overnight on Dec 24th, was expected to decrease today (December 26th).