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•SVG hit by most powerful hurricane in years

•SVG hit by most powerful hurricane in years

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An assessment of damage wrought by the passage of Hurricane Ivan is still to be finalized. However, when the figure is tabulated it would run into the millions.
Fortunately there have been no reports of deaths. But the number of persons left homeless as a result of the disaster continues to mount as reports surface. {{more}}Information from the Southern Grenadines were still incoming as we go to print, but indications were that the area was the most severely hit in the state as Hurricane Ivan took an unusual turn south.
Other areas on mainland St. Vincent were coming to grips with the effects of Hurricane Ivan which packed Category 4 winds over the territory and also on its southern neighbours Grenada, Carriacou and Petit Martinique.
Residents of the North Central Windward coastal districts suffered some bitter blows.
Ulric Charles, a Browne’s Town man, a suburb of the north eastern town of Georgetown was cleaning up Wednesday. He estimated that about ten houses were washed away by the raging seas induced by the hurricane.
He also expressed surprise that such a vast amount of land along the coast had been so rapidly eroded by the surging seas.
“We had to walk from here to reach the sea. When you leave yo’ house is sea,” Charles said.
He pointed out that the winds were not so high but that the waters caused the damage.
Mirando King, a self-employed man has been calling on the authorities to do something about persons who remove stones from the beach. He contended that sand mining was one factor which contributed to the beach erosion.
“If you leave the stones, you wouldn’t have any problem.” King said.
Mitchell Andre John is pondered how he could put his life back on track after the horrors he endured at Ivan’s hands.
He lived in a two-room board shack on the Windward highway with his common-law wife Amanda Byron and two children Mitchese and Mitchrine.
John pointed out that he had no foodstuff, and that his house roof was damaged.
“All I want, they set me up with different thing, leh me try big up me self,” John said.
The tale of destruction was continuous. Petra Sutherland, a mother of four resided on the coastline with four children, also in a two-room abode.
Her plight is one of a sad social debacle. Her common-law husband abandoned her almost 15 years ago soon after her last child was conceived. One of her children Kendol, aged 15, is a student at the Georgetown Secondary School.
Kendol passed the crucial hours of Tuesday night at his brother’s house. But all he saved was his school clothes as the rest of his belongings were soaked as the surging tides advanced.
“Ah one friend give me ah rescue. Me aint have no way to stop right now,” Sutherland outlined.
She recounted that this was her third encounter with raging seas.
“Two time the sea water move this house already. This time it mash it up. Me nah hah no way fuh go, no where to put my stuff,” she moaned.
Another son Randy, aged 20, was critical of government’s stalling of land for the family. “Yo’ think is now the government suppose(d) to give us a piece of land,” Randy sighed.
But this is the worst weather condition he has experienced and he was not ashamed to admit it: “This is one of the tragedy I see for the longest while,” Randy added. He suggested that the government had to “help out poor people.”
“I don’t know how we going to stick up,” he noted.

Just rubble

Alma Jackson, a 71-year-old retired woman, lived on the shoreline with five grand children.
Her residence was constructed with help from a Christian Branch, but now everything has been reduced to rubble.
Veronica Martin is another victim of the surge.
“It is the worst water I have ever encountered,” she uttered.
“In all my life, I never see nothing so,” she added.
Fortunately for many of the victims, they had heeded the advice to move out of the area, and were either at the designated emergency shelters or at friends on Tuesday.
Annette Delicia lived in the same area with her common law husband Eardley Nero and six children.
‘Me hah fuh go squeeze up with me sister,” Delicia said.
The cleaning operations took priority last Wednesday. Many persons were overwhelmed with the height of the waves that rushed across the area. But even with the situation returning to normalcy, survivors were pondering on their next aspect of life.
“Me aint know if me could stop yah foh the weather,” she queried.
The number of persons affected by Hurricane Ivan was nationwide. Several sections of the northeastern area suffered similar fate. Further up the coast, the tale of woe was as devastating. Vincentians accepted the disaster in the normal course of events, even though nothing like what transpired on Tuesday was ever in their sights. But what choice did they have?
Officials from the National Emergency Management Office and officers from the Transport Housing, and Land Ministry were in the fields Wednesday trying to speed up damage assessments.
Prime Minister Dr. Ralph Gonsalves wasted no time in visiting the affected areas.
Persons on the coastline endured the harshest effects, but there were other factors which contributed to property losses.
The destruction was not confined to residences. The Ministry of Transport, Works, and Housing also assessed damage caused to roads. At Langley Park, about 24 miles north east of capital City Kingstown, traffic had to be diverted as a section of the road was eroded.
Joann McDowald lived on the shoreline with her two children Floyd, aged nine and Jeron four. She was worried that pieces of board from her dwelling were taken away by looters.
“I feel the government should help me to get a piece of land. Next weather could be the same,” she said.
Senior Technical Officer Brent Bailey, Roads Engineer Amos Cruickshank, and Assistant Junior Road Supervisor Roland Wilkinson were on spot to supervise cleaning up operations at Langley Park.
Heavy-duty equipment was trying to restore the area to some normalcy.
Georgetown was not the only area affected, even though it was perhaps the worst in the vicinity.
Residents at Colonaire also suffered. Patsy Warrican, mother of former Windwards allrounder and national coach Irvin Warrican is trying to come to grips with her situation. The house in which she resided was smashed by the raging tide. Her house will have to be rebuilt and furniture restored.
“Everything gone,” she pointed out.
Dorothy Peters who lives at Friendly Village of Colonaire also lost her residence.
Those are few Vincentians who suffered property damage.
All along the roads, there were signs of unusual weather. Green leaves were strewn along the tracks, and the occasional branch from trees that snapped under the force of the winds bore signs that something had happened.
The highway on the Argyle road was rendered impassable owing to debris hurled by the tides from the Atlantic Ocean. And a similar situation at the Arnos Vale airport also caused a cessation of flights up till one o’clock on Wednesday.
Prime Minister Dr. Ralph Gonsalves and members of his cabinet got first hand knowledge of the destruction. And the assessment was expected to continue yesterday and today Friday.
But persons will be counting their blessings as the tale of woe persisted over the nation.
Whatever the assessment, Vincentians will reflect on Hurricane Ivan with memories but they will be thankful that the nation was spared the worse. And the stories of Ivan’s fury will be told as the impact takes root.

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