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Remembering the December floods

Remembering the December floods

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What started out as light but continual rains on the evening of Tuesday, December 24, 2013, resulted in floods, which brought about one of the most mournful times in the modern history of St Vincent and the Grenadines.{{more}}

Before the rains had completely stopped, nine persons had lost their lives in various parts of the island: Raymond Gonsalves, a 62-year-old resident of Manning Village in Byera, died when a landslide partially demolished his home, including the bedroom that he was in at the time.

Also losing their lives in a landslide were five members of one family in Rose Bank, when the dirt and debris from a hill caused one family home to collapse onto another: Walson Nanton, 73, and his wife Herna Nanton, 70, their daughter Hazell Baptiste, 51, and two of their grandchildren, Bernard Nanton, 24, and Yowanie Nanton-Bartholomew, 18.

Other family members who were in the houses at the time, escaped with injuries.

Also losing their lives to the raging flood waters were Vermont resident Desmond Wilson, who was swept away some time during the night, and whose body was discovered the following day.

Keslia James, 18 and her niece, two-year-old Shelani Headley, were also lost to the raging Vermont river, after it flooded its banks and swept the two away when they attempted to head for higher ground.

James’ body was found on Christmas Day, while police recovered the body of the Canadian born toddler four days later.

Three persons are still unaccounted for: Inka Jack, 12, Sheila Edwards, 36, of Buccament, and Josel Morgan-Small, 27, of Lowmans Leeward.

Josel was on her way from her shift at the Buccament Bay Resort, when she, along with a co-worker, was washed out to sea. The co-worker made it safely back to shore.

Apart from the loss of life, hundreds of homes were damaged or destroyed, most of them along the various flooded riverbanks, or in the paths of the rivers themselves.

According to statistics from the National Emergency Management Organization (NEMO), more than 250 homes were damaged or destroyed, with 13,000 persons affected by the deluge, caused by the convergence of two trough systems over the island on the fateful night.

At one point, there were more than 250 persons living in temporary shelters

NEMO statistics reveal that more than 120 homes had to be rebuilt, some in the same location as they previously were, while some homes and individuals had to be relocated.

In the days, weeks and months following the Christmas Eve/Christmas floods, individuals, groups, organizations, institutions and nations showed solidarity with the affected persons and with the population of St Vincent and the Grenadines, through various relief efforts.

The diaspora jumped into action, sending shipments of food and clothing for the disadvantaged, while other organizations countries made financial contributions, mainly for the rehabilitation of the country’s infrastructure (roads, bridges, river defences) affected by the floods.

Some residents, who lost furniture and appliances dues to flooding, received assistance in the shape of fridges, stoves, mattresses and gas bottles.

Up to press time, of the more than 250 persons who had been temporarily relocated, only four remain in shelter, while rehabilitation works on infrastructure continue.

Buccament Bay Resort, when she, along with a co-worker, was washed out to sea. The co-worker made it safely back to shore.

Apart from the loss of life, hundreds of homes were damaged or destroyed, most of them along the various flooded riverbanks, or in the paths of the rivers themselves.

According to statistics from the National Emergency Management Organization (NEMO), more than 250 homes were damaged or destroyed, with 13,000 persons affected by the deluge, caused by the convergence of two trough systems over the island on the fateful night.

At one point, there were more than 250 persons living in temporary shelters.

NEMO statistics reveal that more than 120 homes had to be rebuilt, some in the same location as they previously were, while some homes and individuals had to be relocated.

In the days, weeks and months following the Christmas Eve/Christmas floods, individuals, groups, organizations, institutions and nations showed solidarity with the affected persons and with the population of St Vincent and the Grenadines, through various relief efforts.

The diaspora jumped into action, sending shipments of food and clothing for the disadvantaged, while other organizations and countries made financial contributions, mainly for the rehabilitation of the country’s infrastructure (roads, bridges, river defences) affected by the floods.

Some residents who lost furniture and appliances dues to flooding, received assistance in the shape of fridges, stoves, mattresses and gas bottles.

Up to press time, of the more than 250 persons who had been temporarily relocated, only four remain in shelter, while rehabilitation works on infrastructure continue.

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