I once again express our appreciation to you and your volunteers for your significant contribution to our pipeline reconstruction efforts in North Leeward.
Head of CWSA/SWMU
As a student in the conference you need to be prepared to do whatever is needed when disaster strikes. We are in the world’s most disaster prone area and we will do what it takes to support our communities when it is in needed. This is in fact a privilege, to be able to help where and when it is most needed.
As many Vincentians geared up for what is usually considered the happiest, most festive time of the year, a disaster struck. Torrential rains from a trough system caused flooding, landslides and damage to housing and infrastructure in St Vincent on the 24th of December 2013. The landslides caused massive damage, the airport closed, many towns were flooded, hundreds of people lost their homes and livestock. Many were injured and several people lost their lives. In North Leeward the resources were damaged and we lost electricity for several days plus roads, bridges were destroyed and the precious commodity – water was down.
Landslides damaged the water pipelines and 50,000 people were left without access to water. The Climate Compliance Conference and everyone at Richmond Vale Academy worked tirelessly to help restore the water pipelines in North Leeward, together with the Central Water and Sewage Authority (CWSA). This was a big and challenging task.
Over twelve heavy duty pipes, measuring approximately 12 feet and weighing well over 60 lbs, have been transported manually into the rugged mountainous terrains to re-connect or replace those that have been broken or lost. Shovelling, pecking, scooping, transporting the materials (lumber), rebuilding water stands was also on the agenda, all in an effort to assist in getting the lives of the community members back on track.
Other efforts were aimed at helping several families dig mud out of their destroyed houses, assist them in finding their belongings, and help them move back into their homes.
On the 30th of December the Richmond Vale Academy also treated the local volunteers to lunch.
Altogether we have put in 600 volunteer hours in the weeks immediately following the disaster.
Since the intercession of the team from RVA, the CWSA has reported that the work process has been sped up considerably, cutting the water restoration schedule from an expected seven days down to three.
We extend deepest sympathies to those affected by the passing of the trough.
The Government declared the flooding with resulting damages a level two disaster.
The Prime Minister Dr. Ralph Gonsalves has described the damage in North Leeward as “horrific”. Eight people died, including five in one household in North Leeward. Dr. Gonsalves has returned from a shortened vacation in Europe and toured North Leeward to asses the damages.