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Vincentian diplomats in US appeal for urgent aid/Canadian (2 yr old) among dead

imagePolice in St. Vincent identify Canadian girl among dead following storm

A Canadian Maple Leaf flag flies near the Peace tower on Parliament Hill in Ottawa on Feb.15, 2012. (The Canadian Press/Adrian Wyld)

KINGSTOWN, St. Vincent — Police in the east Caribbean island of St. Vincent say a two-year-old girl from Montreal, Canada, was among the eight people who died in a Christmas Eve storm that led to widespread flooding and landslides.

She was identified in a police statement on Monday as Shalarni Headley. The little girl was in St. Vincent on vacation with her mother and two other siblings.

Prime Minister Ralph Gonsalves estimated that the recovery effort will cost “hundreds of millions of dollars.”

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Vincentian diplomats in US appeal for urgent aid

disasterFrom Go-Jamaica

CMC – St. Vincent and the Grenadines’ diplomats in the United States are appealing for urgent aid to help their homeland in the wake of the Christmas storm that left several people dead and a trail of destruction.

In a letter commissioned to nationals in the Diaspora by St. Vincent and the Grenadines Consulate General in New York, Consul General Selmon Walters on Saturday appealed for donations of cash, food, clothing, toiletries, water and medical supplies.

Walters, a former government minister in the administration of Prime Minister Dr. Ralph Gonsalves, noted that the country suffered estimated damages in the region of EC$150 million as a result of the December 24 storm.

He said nine lives were lost, five people still missing, and 64 persons remain in shelters. In addition, the envoy said a number of houses, roads and bridges were destroyed, and that the potable water system is “severely affected”.

As a result, Walters said the Consulate General, in collaboration with a number of Vincentian organizations in the United States, is “spearheading” relief efforts to send much-needed supplies home.

He said the first set of supplies, to be transported free of cost by Amerijet, will leave New York’s John F. Kennedy International Airport, either on Monday or Tuesday night to the E.T. Joshua Airport in St. Vincent and the Grenadines.

“Please let us do something and do something good for our nation,” appealed Walters to a large audience at the Friends of Crown Heights Educational Center in Brooklyn, New York, the operating center for relief efforts.

The Consulate, along with a broad-based committee, comprising prominent groups and influential individuals in the Vincentian community in the US, on Saturday established an account with Chase Bank, where the public can make monetary contributions. Contributions can be made to Chase SVG Community, Inc., account no. 537759511.

US Ambassador, La Celia Prince, also appealed to nationals to support the relief effort, stating that the assessors are “still conducting their work in terms of quantifying the physical and material loss.

“We know that we can count on the support of the Vincentian community to respond to these needs; and, as such, we are sharing this information with you to use as a guide,” she said in a letter to her compatriots.

“The effort is good,” Laverne McDowald-Thompson, president of the Brooklyn-based Council of St. Vincent and the Grenadines’ Organizations, U.S.A., Inc. (COASGO), the umbrella Vincentian group in the US, told the Caribbean Media Corporation. “I like the enthusiasm of the people and their willingness to help our homeland,” added the former school teacher in St. Vincent and the Grenadines. “The tragedy is unfortunate. A natural disaster is unpredictable. It’s very unfortunate what many families have to go through.”

Maxwell Haywood, president of the St. Vincent and the Grenadines Diaspora Committee of New York, said the situation in his native land is “heart-rendering”.

“But, at the same time, it’s an opportunity for us to re-look the way in which we build our society, both infrastructurally and socially,” added Haywood, who is also a United Nations development officer. “So we need to go back to the drawing board to see how we can reduce disaster risk,” he added.

Gonsalves, who cut short his Christmas holidays in London, said it would need “millions of dollars” to rebuild the country, battered by a slow-moving, low-level trough.

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PHOTO: Picture Courtesy of


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DamageDamage may run into tens of millions’

From Trinidad Express

PHOTO: Off balance: This house was swept off of its foundation during the heavy rains and flooding on Christmas Eve in Vieux Fort South, St Lucia. —Photos courtesy the St Lucia Prime Minister’s Office

We need money.

This was the plea of Dr Kenny Anthony, the Prime Minister of St Lucia, as he looks for a way to help his country bounce back from extreme weather that hit the island on Christmas Eve.

Anthony said while he cannot put a price tag on the damage to his country, the bill may run into the “tens of millions”.

Six people have been confirmed dead, with hundreds more having to flee their homes.

“For us this is a major economic setback,” Anthony told journalists from Trinidad and Tobago who visited the island on Friday on board a Caribbean Airlines flight delivering supplies.

Anthony said St Lucia has an “exceedingly difficult and challenging fiscal situation” and has been battling a “deficit for quite a while”.

“Accessing funds for rehabilitation and recovery will be a mountain. In any event, historically our principal external friends do not really offer much assistance in these matters, they allow you to face international banks, Caribbean Development Bank and others, and so it is going to be quite a challenge to raise funds to deal with the issues,” Anthony said.

The heavy rains caused major infrastructural damage to the island.

“We have seven bridges down, three of those bridges are arterial bridges in the sense that they allow you to travel along the main highways in St Lucia and so we have a huge problems on our hands,” he said.

“And you have to recall that St Lucia suffered a debilitating blow with (Hurricane) Thomas. The result of this is that there are a number of bridges that were already compromised so they were very easy victims of the deluge of water, that came our way as a result of this trough,” Anthony said.

“We have Bailey bridges and, in one or two instances, bridges built out of steel, heavy bridges and, in one or two instances, those bridges simply became twisted metal when they were pulled away from where they were positioned—and that gives you some indication of the extent.”

He said bypass roads were constructed to help alleviate the problem and regularise traffic flow.

“St Lucia has a major fiscal problem at this moment because we have a huge fiscal deficit. The problem at the moment in the Caribbean is that institutions and banks are not lending these governments because they have become very frightened of the environment,” he said.

“Really to respond to the difficulties that I have to rebuild the bridges, I will need money, that is the bottom line.”

Some help is coming from Latin America’s integration bloc, the Bolivarian Alliance for the Peoples of Our America (ALBA), Anthony said.

ALBA has earmarked EC$7.2 million to repair bridges that were destroyed during Hurricane Thomas, Anthony said.

“Thomas occurred three years ago and we are still grappling with rehabilitation, trying to rebuild our infrastructure; and this comes along, adding to the problem.”

St Lucia has the technical expertise, but needs finance to address the infrastructural woes.

“I suspect it is going to run into tens of millions because you are talking about bridges, and a major bridge can cost anywhere from EC$7 million to EC$12 million, depending on where it is located; so with three major bridges down, you are talking easily about anywhere between EC$21 and EC$30 million,” he said.

Beside the bridges already destroyed, there is also further damage being anticipated, Anthony said.

“Engineers advised me that one of our major bridges linking two communities to get to here (Vieux Fort) that was actually shifted, and we need to construct a bypass road almost immediately and this has to be done this weekend to be able to cope with the stress of traffic,” he said.

“But organisations such as OAS (Organisation of American States) do not really reach out and provide any financial assistance. We have to turn to the CDB, has a short-term facility but that goes to CDEMA (Carib­bean Disaster Emergency Management Agency) not to the government, but we are now in the process of negotiations, a small loan of US$750,000 as part of the emergency fund.”

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Statement of the Secretary General of the OAS on the Christmas Day Floods in the Eastern Caribbean

OAS Logo31December 27th, 2013  —  The Secretary General of the Organization of American States (OAS), José Miguel Insulza, expressed his deep sorrow over the loss of life and severe damage caused by unseasonably heavy rainfall over the last 48 hours in Dominica, Saint Lucia and Saint Vincent and the Grenadines.

He further expressed, on behalf of the OAS, his sincere condolences to the governments and the peoples of the affected countries on their loss and assured them that the Organization stands in solidarity with them at this very difficult time.

Commenting on the situation, Secretary General Insulza stated, “This is very bad news, even more that it has occurred on Christmas Day. The unseasonable nature of the heavy rains and flooding raises once again the impact of climate change in the Caribbean region.”

The OAS Secretary General added that he would shortly convene other agencies within the Inter-American system to mobilize a hemispheric response to the debilitating effects of what is becoming known as the Christmas Day rains in the southern Eastern Caribbean.

For more information, please visit the OAS Website at


See iNews Cayman related story published December 26 2013 “Heavy rain kills eight in St Vincent” at:




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