Heavy rains, flooding in St Vincent damage homes, hospitalize one

The rains, which began before dawn and continued until around 8 a.m. triggered landslides and flash floods in some areas, reminiscent of the trough system on December 24 that left nine confirmed dead, three missing, and extensive damage to infrastructure and housing.

Prime Minister Ralph Gonsalves, in an update to the nation around 1:30 p.m. Saturday, said while there were no deaths, someone from the Largo Height area was hospitalized when a wall fell and damaged a house.

Arrangements were being made to have the residents of that house placed in a shelter, said Gonsalves, who has ministerial responsibility for disaster management.

In Trigger Ridge, a community in Central Kingstown, a house was in “a precarious position”, and the government was making alternative arrangement for the family of eight, Gonsalves said.

Chair of the Housing and Land Development Corporation, Berisford Phillips, whose name has been flaunted as a potential candidate for Gonsalves Unity Labour Party in that constituency in the next general election, had visited the two families.

In Rose Place, Kingstown, the National Emergency Management Organization (NEMO) and the Social Welfare visited an elderly man who was affected by the extreme whether and arranged for him to be taken to hospital, Gonsalves said.

Kingstown was flooded and the clean up was already underway, while the main E.T. Joshua Airport, which was also flooded, was expected to remain closed until around 4 p.m.

Gonsalves said there were landslides across the country and two families in Buccament Bay who were affected and will be housed at the RIllan Hill Community Centre.

Several persons from Buccament Bay who were affected by the December floods are still being housed at the community centre in the neighbouring village.

Among the houses flooded out in Buccament Bay were two that were also flooded during the Christmas Floods.

Another building, the Buccament Bay Seventh-Day Adventist Primary School, which was flooded in December, was also flooded on Saturday.

Gonsalves said Director of NEMO, Howie Prince, who went to Grenada to attend an event to mark the 10th anniversary of the passage of Hurricane Ivan, was stuck in Barbados on his way back to St. Vincent, and his deputy, Michelle Forbes, is doing a programme in Taiwan.

The Prime Minister said as a result, NEMO is being managed by the third in command, Holda Peters, and assured citizens that the relevant state agencies have been activated.

He said the Roads, Bridges and General Services Authority has been mobilized and information is being communicated across the various agencies.

“Generally speaking, we are on top of things. I have been in touch with the Deputy Prime Minister [and] she in touch with me. We left one of the classrooms at Buccament Bay opened just in case someone had to go in there, even for a temporary basis.

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