OECS and New Zealand ‘Christmas Eve Trough’ projects completed

The aftermath in St Vincent and the Grenadines. ©Colvin Harry

Several OECS communities affected by the ‘Christmas Eve Trough’ floods in 2013 have benefited from disaster risk reduction interventions.

A number of projects in St Lucia, Dominica and St Vincent and the Grenadines have been implemented by the OECS Commission in collaboration with the government of New Zealand.

These include the installation of a fuel tank and pump in St Vincent, the stabilisation of the river bank at Anse La Raye, St. Lucia, and the rehabilitation of the Gutter Village shelter in Dominica.

The partnership, which began in September 2014, sought to increase the resilience of at-risk communities through the establishment of disaster preparedness facilities, rehabilitation of community infrastructure and provision of training.

A grant arrangement with the New Zealand Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade of US$140,000 was used to fund the work under the Caribbean Community Flood Response Programme.

Holiday season destruction

All three nations were pummelled by torrential rains and strong winds generated by an unseasonal low-level trough system over a 24-hour period from Christmas Eve to Christmas Day.

Across the three, more than 10 people were reported to have died.

Dominica, St Lucia and St Vincent all suffered massive infrastructural damage due to landslides, rivers bursting their banks bridges being washed away.

At the time, St Lucia’s Prime Minister Kenny Anthony said that “the agricultural sector was severely compromised, schools were damaged, and Hewanorra International Airport was temporarily inaccessible.”

The OECS Commission, who were responsible for identifying and monitoring the project interventions through its Social and Sustainable Development Division.

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