Recovery efforts continue in St Lucia


A bridge washed away by flood water in Saint Lucia

By Caribbean News Now contributor

CASTRIES, St Lucia — Recovery efforts continue in Saint Lucia, where over six inches of rain was recorded within a 24 hours period between December 23 and 24, which resulted in loss of life and property destruction from landslides and severe flooding.

There are six confirmed deaths related to the weather system. All are males – five were confirmed dead in the south and one in the north.

Landslides were reported in Dennery and the entire village of Anse-La Raye was flooded. The Piaye and Canaries Bridges were damaged.

The hospitals and health centres are functional; however, there are reports of flood damage to equipment, medical stocks and shortage in nursing and domestic staff. Environmental health officers are in the field conducting assessments and interventions.

Teams from the Water and Sewerage Company (WASCO) continue efforts to restore the water supply network and have been successful in many areas so far. Most of the company’s water supply systems were affected by the heavy rains, resulting in water shortages in several areas around the island.

Teams are continuing to clear the intakes that supply raw water to the plants.

The water utility has been able to restore 90% of the lines at Anse la Raye and work on desilting the intake was due to be completed by last Friday. However, it continues to experience problems with some water distribution where there is no power to allow for pumping. As a result, WASCO has been trucking water into Anse la Raye and anticipated that the water supply should be restored sometime on the weekend.

Canaries is also receiving water via truck where a major distribution line was compromised following damage to the bridge. Work has started on clearing the source and retrieving lines that were washed away so they can be restored.

The system in Soufriere is fully functional, except for an intake where access has proved very challenging. Damage to pipelines in that community is also hindering progress with restoring the supply. WASCO anticipated the problem should be resolved by the weekend.

The Beausejour facility in Vieux Fort is out of commission, and that situation may persist for some time. As a result, WASCO is diverting water from other facilities to Vieux Fort to provide some relief to customers.

The ministry of infrastructure has been assisting with clearing access to the treatment plant and intakes which were rendered impassable by a number of landslides.

In Micoud, all intakes are clogged and raw water and transmission lines were damaged. The intakes are now being cleared and temporary construction is underway. WASCO is sourcing portable treatment plants where turbidity is high. Some intakes are clogged, access compromised, and raw water lines damaged.

As of Thursday evening, St Lucia Electricity Services Limited (LUCELEC) was able to restore power to all customers with some exceptions, which were expected to be addressed by Saturday.

See related article for details of relief efforts.