St. Lucia Appealing for Help after Storm Damage


The island’s Prime Minister, Mr. Stephenson King, has confirmed that the damage caused to the territory is estimated to be over US$37 million, with the west coast town of Soufriere being the worst affected community. Reports indicate that homes were washed away while their occupants were still inside.

Officials have also confirmed five deaths so far, that are directly linked to the devastation caused by the storm.

France has been identified by the government as one of the first donor countries, from which help is being requested.

Prime Minister King said that France has been asked to aid the island in its search and rescue efforts, in the aftermath of what is already being described as the worst ever natural disaster in St Lucian history.

Meanwhile, in St Vincent and the Grenadines Opposition Leader Arnhim Eustace says the damage to the country’s agricultural sector will impact heavily on the economy.

He has expressed concern that the devastating blow suffered by the banana industry will prevent St Vincent and the Grenadines from meeting its banana exporting obligations.

“I don’t see us being able to do any significant shipment again for the balance of this year,” Mr Eustace, himself a farmer, said.

He called on the government of Prime Minister Ralph Gonsalves to give priority to the agricultural sector “in the fastest possible manner”.

Prime Minister Dr Ralph Gonsalves describes it as their worst in living memory.slu-bridge-jeep

From 2:00pm to 10:00pm on Saturday, Hurricane Tomas pounded the agriculture-dependent island with torrential rain and relentless winds.

By the time the storm had passed, St Vincent’s vital agriculture sector was left virtually in tatters.

The initial damage estimate was US$25 million – and that was to farming alone including the important banana sector.

Much of the road network has been rendered impassable by landslides, subsidence caused by raging torrents of water, and blocked by fallen trees.


Property damage is equally extensive. According to Dr Gonsalves, 1200 homes have been damaged and many residents were without electricity.

Only the capital has power; the rest of the island will have to make do with other forms of current until Friday.

Island-wide water supply is out until about Thursday.

Schools have been closed for the next week – many of the buildings were used as hurricane shelters.

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