Following reports of damage to member states and requests for assistance, on behalf of OAS Secretary General José Miguel Insulza, OAS Assistant Secretary General, Albert Ramdin activated the Inter-American Emergency Fund, to source the means to assist member states worst affected.
Expressing concern about the devastation in St Lucia and St Vincent and the Grenadines, the OAS Assistant Secretary General said, “Natural disasters have become a recurrent threat to life and property in our region. In the current economic climate, countries simply don’t have the means to effectively recover the damage. As a hemisphere we need to strengthen our response mechanism to assist those in need.”
The Prime Ministers of both St Lucia and St. Vincent & the Grenadines have appealed to the regional and international community for help. Officials in St. Lucia have reported to the OAS that up to 14 people have been confirmed dead and several others have been reported missing. Villages have been evacuated and many communities have been deemed unsafe because of the potential for landslides.
The agricultural sectors in both St Lucia and St Vincent and the Grenadines have suffered severe damage, while schools, government offices and commercial centres have also been significantly affected.
The OAS is the current chair of the Inter-American Commission on Natural Disaster Relief.