Monday, November 8, 2010

Hurricane Tomas - Updates for Mid Monday 8th


I wrote some notes while listening to the Voluntary PR for WASCO (our water company), Clinton Reynolds talking on Helen FM this morning.
The challenge for WASCO is that many of their facilities for water collection and distribution have largely been buried under layers of mud - they cannot assess damage without first, in many cases making an access to the sites, and then digging the facilities out of the mud.
Despite this, they are making serious headway with restoring water services with many of the smaller sites being worked on. The main reservoir - the Roseau Dam, well they managed to power partly up with generators, but these can only test two pumps at a time - this testing has started - but the site is under alot of silt that must be cleared. Good news is the Dam is not damaged - only a retaining wall broke and that does not affect the integrity of the dam.
Still, even when they've finished testing the pumps, they will only be able to run two at a time - this means that much less water than full capacity - 1/3 - can be sent to Ciceron for treatment and distribution into the pipes.
Mr Reynolds would not be drawn into making any estimates as to how long full restoration would take.

In the meantime, Sandals Grande, which has a de-sal plant, has been providing water to it's other hotels and to the hospital - perhaps more areas too, I'm not sure. The Cruise industry is also helping:

SAINT LUCIA (November 8, 2010) - Cruise liners which sailed in support of Saint Lucia's communities affected by Hurricane Tomas were thanked by the island's Prime Minister yesterday.
The Florida-Caribbean Cruise Association and its member lines quickly restored cruise business in the wake of the October 30 hurricane and also shipped in humanitarian assistance for affected Saint Lucians.
Saint Lucia's Prime Minister Stephenson King, thanking the Florida-based trade organization for its support of Saint Lucia's cruise visitor industry, pointed out, "the quick action by the cruise lines was of enormous help for us and underscored the huge value of tourism to our recovery efforts."
About two-thirds of Saint Lucia's attractions have re-opened, and this past Sunday, November 7, both Holland America's Noordam and P & O Oceana brought thousands of passengers who were able to experience some of them, including Lucian Life, Zip Lining in the Saint Lucian Rainforest; and sail catamarans to the popular Marigot Bay as well as visit some of the island's famous beaches. Saint Lucia's taxi drivers and vendors were also elated with the return of visitors to the island.
The passengers were cheered by the knowledge the vessels they sailed to Saint Lucia also brought 200 tonnes of water along with clothing, food, furniture, mattresses, sheets and blankets which were distributed to needy communities by the National Emergency Management Organization (NEMO) and the Saint Lucia Red Cross.
"We are grateful to our cruise partners for their kindness, and thanks to the disaster preparedness of some of Saint Lucia's larger hotels, not only were they able to supply their own guests with safe water, but they were also able to share their stored, purified and desalinated water with surrounding communities," reported Guy Joseph, Saint Lucia's Minister of Communications and Works.
More cruise ships would continue to bring helpful passengers as well as assistance to Saint Lucia in the weeks ahead.
And in the air, tourism got a kick-start over the weekend with the arrival of JetBlue Airways, American Airlines/American Eagle, Air Canada, Delta Air Lines, British Airways, among other carriers.
The international and regional carriers landed easily at both Hewanorra International Airport and George F.L. Charles Airport.
"Tourism is our lifeblood, and we are grateful to our regional and international partners for the confidence they have placed in Saint Lucia. By returning so quickly, they are assisting the nation recover in the aftermath of the storm," asserted Saint Lucia's Minister of Tourism, Senator Allen Chastanet.
For further information, please contact the nearest Saint Lucia Tourist Board office: Head Office: 1 758 452-4094; UK: 207 341-7002; USA: 1 800 456-3984 and Canada: 1 800 869-0377.
For more information, visit
For our Canadian Readers who worry about what Canada is doing - we have this press release:
Canada pledges support in response to Hurricane Tomas in the Caribbean

Source: Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA); Government of Canada
Date: 05 Nov 2010
Ottawa, Ontario―The Honourable Peter Kent, Minister of State of Foreign Affairs, on behalf of Beverley J. Oda, Minister of International Cooperation, today announced support in response to the humanitarian needs arising from Hurricane Tomas in the Caribbean.
"We want to ensure that the needs of the people affected by Hurricane Tomas are met quickly," said Minister Kent. "This contribution will ensure that the affected families can receive the emergency support they need."
Canada's contribution of $50,000 will help the International Federation of the Red Cross in its goal of assisting up to 1,550 families affected by the hurricane in Saint Lucia, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, and Barbados. It will provide essential non-food items, including shelter, and ensure that the affected families have access to adequate water and sanitization facilities. Canada is also participating in the Rapid Needs Assessment Team led by the Caribbean Disaster Emergency Management Agency through the provision of a water specialist from Ottawa who arrived in Saint Lucia on Wednesday.
In 2007, CIDA contributed $20 million to launch the Caribbean Catastrophe Risk Insurance Facility (CCRIF). In light of the damages caused by Hurricane Tomas, the CCRIF will provide US$3.2 million to Saint Lucia, US$8.5 million to Barbados, and US$1.1 million to St. Vincent. CIDA also funds the Caribbean Disaster Risk Management Program (CDRMP), a $20-million program that aims to reduce the risk of natural disasters in the Caribbean region. In addition, through the Canada Fund, a small local fund of up to $130,000 will be made available for community level recovery projects. 
And here's a link to a CTV article: Toronto Emergency Crew Heading to St. Lucia  

Keep tuned - more updates later tonight or early tomorrow