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St. Lucia Cleans Up After Brutal Weather Leaves 8 Dead

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Special to the NNPA from the New York Carib News

CMC – Electricity and other services were being gradually restored here less than 24 hours after a slow moving low level trough caused widespread flooding and destruction to St. Lucia.

Prime Minister Dr. Kenny Anthony told nationals he could not “recall when we have had such heavy rainfall on the eve of Christmas”.

The rains and strong winds, which had blamed for five deaths and damage to roads, bridges and houses, also caused destruction in neighboring St. Vincent and the Grenadines, where nine people were confirmed dead and the search continuing for three others, presumed dead.

The St. Lucia Air and Sea Ports (SLASPA) said that the Hewanorra International Airport, south of here, remained closed and that crews were working tirelessly to have the airport reopened as soon as possible.

“Passengers expecting to travel or coming to pick up someone, please contact your party for the status of the flight before coming to the airport,” it added.

The St. Lucia Electricity Services Limited (LUCELEC) said that it had been able to restore power to “nearly all areas that had been affected by outages resulting from the heavy rains and severe lightning”.

LUCELEC Transmission and Distribution Manager Gilroy Pultie said acknowledged that some areas in the south of the island that had been severely battered by the rains and winds have not been re-energised, but hoped the situation would be completed as soon as possible as crews deal with fallen poles and trees that have brought down power lines.

“All other areas around the island have power, except for a few isolated pockets which will be attended to over the next several hours.”

The telecommunications company, LIME, said that it was gradually restoring services to customers and that the network link between Bexon and Dennery was once more functional.

“All services off these nodes including Cell Sites in the valley and the village, as well as Police and Fire Stations, have been restored,” promising that “service restoration teams will continue working through the night to get the rest of the affected communities online, including Vieux Fort, Canaries and Soufriere”.

The main opposition United Workers Party (UWOP) said it was “saddened by the widespread destruction caused by heavy rains on Christmas Eve” and that political leader Allen Chastanet as well as the

Parliamentary Representative for Castries South-East, Guy Joseph, had toured affected areas.

“At a time that is traditionally filled with happiness, joy and laughter, it is heart wrenching to witness families grappling with the total loss of personal items and property.

“The party is even more pained to the core after learning that several families are mourning the loss of loved ones. To them, we extend sincere condolences and also, provide assurance that we will do as much as we can to assist in their hour of need,” the party added.

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