The Ambassadors and Permanent Representatives of St. Vincent and the Grenadines, St. Lucia and Dominica held a News Conference in Washington, DC to bring attention to their plight in the aftermath of what is being called the “Christmas Disaster”.
The three islands were impacted by a low-level trough system on December 24th.
The natural disaster left nine confirmed dead in St. Vincent, and three others still missing, with material damage – to agricultural crops, livestock, private property and public infrastructure including hospitals, police stations, bridges and roads – of up to US $100million.
The human toll was summed up by St. Vincent and the Grenadines Ambassador to Washington, La Celia
Prince who noted that more than 13,000 people in St. Vincent were directly affected by the storm, representing 14-percent of the population of 110-thousand.
The Media Conference was organized by the Embassy of St. Vincent and the Grenadines and also featured diplomatic representatives from other Caribbean countries and OAS Member States who expressed support and solidarity.
The OAS Secretary General and Assistant Secretary General were also on hand and made an initial financial contribution of US $20,000 to each of the affected countries.
Ambassador Albert Ramdin, OAS Assistant Secretary General expressed solidarity with the affected member states and committed the OAS to assist with natural disaster mitigation and prevention projects through its sustainable development programmes. He expressed the belief that “efforts to mobilize financial, material and technical assistance should continue beyond the emergency period.
The natural disaster left nine confirmed dead in St. Vincent, including a 2-year old boy, and four others still missing, with material damage – to agricultural crops, livestock, private property and public infrastructure including hospitals, police stations, bridges and roads – of up to US
Ambassador Prince and the Ambassadors of St. Lucia and Dominica used the opportunity to thank the OAS, the institutions of the Inter-American system, the United States government, the private sector, as well as the international community for the assistance rendered and appealed for continued support during the recovery period.
The sudden torrential rains caused rivers to widen and overflow their banks and in some cases, redefined the floodplain altogether as river defenses, bridges, homes, farms and businesses were swept away and destroyed. Numerous landslides also occurred causing; severe damage to the road networks, loss of agricultural crops and arable land and tragically, the loss of life in the affected areas.