CaribWorldNews, CASTRIES, St. Lucia, Mon. Nov. 1, 2010: Death and destruction – these are the words being used to describe the mayhem caused by Hurricane Tomas on the island of St. Lucia.
At least five deaths have been confirmed and two families have been reported missing. Among the dead is a visitor to the island who was washed away in his vehicle. A mother and her two daughters were found dead in mud and debris, and a 31-year-old woman drowned while she was in her vehicle.
Many communities are severely damaged and the village of Soufriere has been declared a disaster zone. People in southern communities are wondering the streets, desperate for food and water. Hundreds of houses have been destroyed and several roads and bridges are impassable.
The island`s banana industry has been totally wiped out and there have been massive landslides in the southern part of the island. Minister of Communications and Works, Guy Joseph, says it will be weeks until some roads in the south and west of the island will be passable.
Several schools have also been severely destroyed and the roof of the hospital in the community of Dennery has been totally blown off. Reports indicate that the injured were being brought into hospitals around the island on the backs of other individuals during the hurricane. Looting was also reported in some parts of the island.
Prime Minister Stephenson King says the extent of the damage will be over a hundred million dollars. He added that a more accurate figure will be announced later when an elaborate assessment has been completed.
King says that the island will need regional and international assistance. He pointed out that the government has already been in contact with US and French officials but says that local authorities are doing their best to rebuild the island.
`We first need to do what we can immediately for ourselves and not wait for regional and international effort,` said PM Stephenson.
The government is also appealing to St. Lucians overseas to make any contribution that they can to help rebuild the island. The hurricane ravaged the island on Saturday evening, with strong winds of up to seven five miles an hour.
Tomas took the island off guard as what started as a tropical depression quickly developed into a category one hurricane. The island of St. Vincent was also severely affected by the island with Barbados, Trinidad and Tobago as well as Martinique being impacted. – By Sarah Peter/CWNN St. Lucia.