Saint Vincent and Grenadines Red Cross continues working on the recovery after the recent floods

Published: 19 December 2016 3:52 CET

The International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) has approved for Saint Vincent and Grenadines Red Cross resources of 155,905 Swiss francs (CHF) from the Emergency Fund (DREF) to provide immediate relief and assistance to 400 families (2,000 affected people) as a complement to ongoing activities to the population affected by the severe storm in St. Vincent and the Grenadines.


On Tuesday, 29 November 2016, St. Vincent and the Grenadines was impacted by heavy rains, which resulted in flooding and landslides in several communities.  Sandy Bay in the north-eastern area of St. Vincent was the most severely affected community; however, the villages of Magum, Orange Hill, Overland, London, Point, Owia and Fancy in the north-east and Spring Village, Coulls Hill, Troumaca, Rose Bank, Sharpes, Fitz Hughes and Chateaubelair in the north-west of St. Vincent were also impacted.


The government reported that the physical infrastructure (roads and bridges) was extensively damaged. Mudflows and debris blocked many roadways and coupled with the infrastructural damage, made many communities inaccessible by road. The public works clean-up efforts are extensive and ongoing, and volunteers within the communities are also involved in self-help clean-up activities to restore normality in the shortest possible timeframe.


Flooding and landslides caused significant damage to major pipelines supplying the villages throughout the north-eastern quarter of St. Vincent; water for the area is supplied by tenders from the Central Water and Sewage Authority.


The flooding destroyed 15 houses, severely damaged 20 houses and partially damaged more than 50.


Apart from the physical damage, many houses were inundated by flood water which damaged household items. Three collective centers were opened in Sandy Bay, and there are 55 people in emergency centres and 66 persons in secondary shelters (relatives and friends); throughout the country, there are 79 people in emergency centres and 100 in secondary shelters. Shelter, water and sanitation are important priorities for the communities in the foreseeable future; nevertheless, the issue of psychosocial support looms large as a priority for the short, medium and long-term, given that many families have lost their livelihood and their economic situation is precarious.


Community Disaster Response Teams (CDRT), National Intervention Teams (NIT) and volunteers of the St. Vincent and the Grenadines Red Cross Society have worked on the response operation since the beginning of the disaster.


The National Society has been working with other organizations in the country providing safe drinking water to the communities of Sandy Bay, Owia and Fancy that were rendered unreachable because of a number of landslides and collapsed bridges.


The National Society delivered 32,331 US gallons of water from 1 to 4 December to 300 families in the area of Sandy Bay using its EW403D water purification unit, which has the capacity to distribute 1,056 US gallons per hour/this unit was purchased by the Disaster Relief Emergency Fund (DREF) in 2013. The water purification unit, EW403D, will be deployed until the government system regains the capacity to sustain normal operation (this will likely be for one month). Currently, a water plant is delivering safe water in Sandy Bay, Magun, Overland, London, Ponit, Owia, Spring, Georgetown and Fansy.


Eighty of the National Society’s 150 volunteers are involved in the operation; on the first day of the operation, SVGRC volunteers manned the telephones at The National Emergency Management Office (NEMO) emergency operation centre (EOC), enabling them to collect valuable information on the emergency; they also brought water, to Sandy Bay communities by foot that were inaccessible to vehicles, treated injured people’s wounds in the collective centres and assisted with general shelter management. Moreover, the volunteers assisted with the assessments and the food and water distributions, handed out blankets at the Rose Bank and Sandy Bay collective centres and food packages purchased by NEMO to families in Sandy Bay’s North Leeward and North-East districts.


With the resources of the DREF the CDRTs and volunteers will continue to carry out more assessments as the floodwaters recede, and they will continue with the distributions based on the current registration of affected people and estimates of the affected families that still need assistance.


The 400 selected families will receive hygiene kits, jerrycans, buckets and cleaning kits, which will be purchased through the IFRC's Global Logistics Services (GLS) in Panama; SVGRC volunteers will also deliver instructional lectures on the use of the chlorine tabs and hygiene promotion to the 400 families.