It was on Tuesday, 24th, December when weather officials here in St. Kitts and Nevis, issued a “watch” for a possible flash flood that they feared could result if the forecast for heavy rain materialized. They had cautioned that more rain was expected late Christmas Eve and into Christmas Day. Thankfully, the disturbed weather kept more south of our islands but dreadfully causing extensive damage and loss of life in the Windward Islands.
Hardest hit were St. Vincent and St. Lucia. Eight are said to have died in St. Vincent and 5 in St. Lucia. Over a hundred are left homeless in St. Vincent.
The destruction has been registered in the flooded homes, bridges that have been washed away, roads destroyed, massive landslides and severe damage to infrastructure.
In St. Vincent, patients in selected wards of at least one hospital had to be relocated, 50% of people in some districts without water and officials are reporting that supply may not be restored until Saturday. Some communities have been cut off due to infrastructural damage and many have been placed in shelters.
Amongst those killed in St. Lucia was a police officer who at the time was trying to assist fellow citizens in distress but unfortunately he was crushed by a wall and the powerful rushing water.
Opposition politician in St. Kitts Dr. Timothy Harris has been one of the first local officials to publicly extend sympathies to the people of the affected islands.
“This tragedy gives us pause to offer up special prayers for our brothers and sisters in St. Vincent and The Grenadines, and to reflect soberly, especially at this time when people all over the world are celebrating the birth of Christ Our Saviour, and when we in St. Kitts and Nevis also celebrate our “Sugar Mas” Carnival and the people of St. Vincent and The Grenadines also celebrate their “Nine Mornings” Festival, on the importance of God in our lives, on the need to give thanks to The Almighty and to give praises for His power and His Mercy. A time to hold hands, as children of the same God, in tough times and in easy times, indeed, at all times,” said Harris in a statement.
He said that he has been in touch with officials of both the Government and the Opposition in Kingstown, extending heart-felt condolences and commiserations with the people of St. Vincent and The Grenadines.
The government of Trinidad & Tobago has stepped forward, saying it intends to provide relief assistance. A post on Persad-Bissessar’s Facebook page said that as Prime Minister with responsibility for security in CARICOM, her country stand ready to help.