By Amselma Aimable
CAribbean Net News St Lucia Correspondent
CASTRIES, St Lucia: On Thursday, August 16, 2007, acting prime minister of St Lucia, Stephenson King, announced that all public offices were to close from 4.00 p.m. and the Island's two airports would be closed until the last flight had landed. This was to remain so until the Meteorological Office gave the all clear. St Lucians were to listen to the advisories and were advised to stay away from beaches and low lying areas and fishermen were to secure their craft and equipment.
At about 6.30 pm on Thursday, there were already power outages in certain areas. Throughout the night there was intense thunder and lightning, heavy rains and winds of up to 90 mph in the north of the Island. In the early morning of August 17, 2007, Hurricane Dean was pounding more rain on the Island and the lightning and thunder had intensified.
|Uprooted tree at Pigeon Point from Hurricane Dean.
Reports reaching Caribbean Net News were that there were flooding in some areas and a number of residents in Dennery had to be evacuated. Some roads were made impassable by debris and fallen trees and several roof tops were blown off. The roof of the Pediatric Ward at Victoria Hospital was blown off and the children had to be moved to another section of the hospital. Utility poles and wires were down and there was an island-wide power outage. There were no telephone services in some areas be it cellular phones or land lines.
Unfortunately, a sixty-two year old resident of Sarrot lost his life while trying to secure his cattle. Parliamentary Representative for Castries South, Dr Robert Lewis told Caribbean Net News that about 20 - 30 houses were partially damaged in his constituency, while some houses were completely damaged. Lewis also told Caribbean Net News he was impressed with the level of community effort displayed by the young people of his constituency, as early as 10.00 am they were already out clearing the roads and assisting those in need.
American and Delta Airlines flights were cancelled, while the Virgin Atlantic flight was delayed. Banana farms were destroyed in Mabouya Valley, Roseau and Marc. While this reporter was out in the field, she spotted some dead fish along the shoreline at Pigeon Point.
Three days prior to the passage of Hurricane Dean, Director of the National Emergency Management Unit, Dawn French, was at the various media establishment advising St Lucians to take the necessary precautions and that they should listen the advisories and take heed. Some of the media houses were unable to withstand the pressure of Hurricane Dean, but Radio 100 Helen FM was a source of communications to friend, family and also the utility companies.
Some communities have already started cleaning up while the St Lucia Electricity Company is working round the clock to restore power to the Island.