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No external relief needed for recent flood damage – PM

No external relief needed for recent flood damage – PM


While damage from last weekend’s flooding could be considered significant, Prime Minister Dr Ralph Gonsalves says there is no need to seek assistance from entities outside of the country.

“The floods which we had and landslides caused significant damage{{more}} both to infrastructure and to homes, but not at a scale which is anywhere where we need to seek assistance from any entity outside of St Vincent and the Grenadines,” Gonsalves said, while speaking at a press conference on Tuesday.

“If one family is being dislocated, it is significant damage, because in a small country like ours of 100,000 persons, we feel a sense of immediacy when persons are dislocated from their dwelling place. Similarly when we have roads blocked for a period of time or we have a challenge on any of the road ways, then it becomes significant.”

During his address, the Prime Minister gave an in-depth report on the areas of the island that were affected during the heavy rainfalls that began last Friday.

Gonsalves outlined that the ET Joshua airport was severely flooded, with water levels reaching in excess of three feet. Subsequently, this caused the airport to be closed until around 4 .p.m. on Saturday.

“We had to close air traffic; that’s a significant disruption,” he said, noting that air travel is important for persons moving for reasons that include leisure, tourism and business.

Also included in the damage caused was the collapse of a river wall at Arnos Vale, a river which encroached on three properties in Buccament and residences in Vermont and Spring Village areas were also affected by rivers.

“If the Ministry of Works had not done a lot of river training, albeit rudimentary training, in both the Buccament river and the Cumberland river, we would have had more serious damage taking place,” the Prime Minister said.

Landslides in various areas, including Dorsetshire Hill, Belair and the Vigie Highway, caused either complete or partial blockage to the roadways and also damaged some pipes for the Central Water and Sewerage Authority.

Additionally, a 50-foot section of lower embankment in the Morne Garu area in North Leeward collapsed and has compromised the integrity of the road.

“Road caution notices have been put up in that area…and cordoned off by BRAGSA (Roads, Buildings and General Services Authority). They are proceeding to cut in the upper embankment to enable the flow of the traffic,” Gonsalves told media officials.

Furthermore, he indicated that while this is taking place, the Ministry of Transport and Works have already begun to design a retaining system to stabilize the area.

Two families and one couple were also affected by the collapse of retaining walls and landslides in the Largo Heights, Trigger Ridge and Redemption Sharpes area and have been temporarily relocated.

The Prime Minister stressed that once damage was assessed, work was being done on an ongoing basis over the weekend and stressed that all the necessary systems were mobilized.

Gonsalves also commended persons who took the initiative to begin the clean-up process in several areas, even before BRAGSA or other agencies arrived to do so.

According to the Meteorological Office in St Vincent and the Grenadines, more than 99 mm of rainfall was recorded in this country between 6.a.m. on September 5 and 10 a.m. on September 6. These rains caused various areas in the country to be flooded and damage to infrastructure and private residences.