Storm-hit St Lucia community evacuated

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Partially collapsed roadway in the community of Bexon, St Lucia. HTS News

CASTRIES, St Lucia — National Emergency Management Organisation (NEMO) spokesman Kirby Allain said the Fond St Jacques area in Soufriere, St Lucia, has been cleared of residents.

He said the evacuation exercise was a success and residents have been moved to temporary shelters.

Local media reported that the British destroyer HMS Manchester has since arrived off Soufriere and is providing humanitarian assistance to affected residents.

Allain said the authorities are now mulling over the next course of action in providing permanent shelter and assistance to the people displaced by the disastrous Fond St Jacques landslides.

HTS News reported that, meanwhile, NEMO has announced the Soufriere area is now accessible via the Choiseul route. Additionally, the treacherous Barre De L’Isle Ridgeway, which connects Castries to the east coast and south of the island, is only open to emergency vehicles. The road is closed to regular vehicular traffic due to muddy, slippery and very dangerous conditions.

The authorities are also advising people who do not have interest in Soufriere to stay away from the area to avoid impeding the progress of the recovery effort. Arrangements are also being made to transport medical patients, especially those who require kidney dialysis to public health institutions for treatment.

Although crews are reportedly working round the clock on restoring reservoirs across the island, the main John Compton Dam has suffered damage and will hamper efforts, HTS News reported.

This assessment follows an aerial trip of the dam, since Ministerial and WASCO officials have reportedly thus far been unable to access the structure by land. Public Utilities Minister Guy Joseph said a group of volunteer engineers are helping the authorities assess and conduct repairs on the facility.

Despite the damage, Joseph said Saint Lucians in certain parts of the island could receive pipe borne water from the municipal supply as early as this weekend. However, he stressed the service will be on a limited supply.

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