Caribbean countries cleaning up after close encounter with Earl


Tuesday, August 31, 2010

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ST JOHN’S, Antigua – Residents in a number of Caribbean islands were this morning engaged in mopping up operations after a close encounter with a rampaging Hurricane Earl.
But even as they were engaged in that activity, they are also focused on Tropical Storm Fiona that at 5:00 am local time was located 590 miles east of the Leeward Islands with winds of 40 miles per hour.
“On the forecast tract, the centre of Fiona is expected to pass near or northeast of the Northern Leeward Islands early Wednesday,” the Miami-based National Hurricane Centre (NHC) said.
Prime Minister Baldwin Spencer said that the passage of Hurricane Earl, a  Category Four storm,  had resulted in no death or injuries in Antigua and Barbuda and that more than 250 people had taken shelter at centres across the island.
“I commend those individuals and families, especially from low lying and flood prone areas, who heeded early warnings, and took the precaution to move to designated shelters, in order to avert personal danger,” Spencer said, adding “most of us are now without the convenience of piped water and electricity as APUA (Antigua and Barbuda Public Utility Authority) was forced to turn off supplies in keeping with the corporation's hurricane operational procedures”.
Spencer said that APUA has given the assurance that it would restore water supplies as soon as possible and that while “electricity supplies will take longer to be restored as there are reports of downed power lines and poles. APUA personnel will be working hard to restore power as quickly as possible”.
“We are thankful that so far there has been no report of loss of life and minimal reports of damage to houses and other property,” Spencer said, adding that an assessment of the damage across the island would continue.
“We are thankful to God for sparing fair Antigua and Barbuda from greater damage,” he said, adding that he was also conveying “heartfelt sympathies to our neighbours in the Leeward Islands who might have suffered any damage, loss of life or injuries during the passage of Hurricane Earl. We wish for them a speedy and full recovery”.
In Anguilla, there were no reports of major structural damage but there were downed electricity lines and flooding in several areas. The British Overseas Dependent Territory is also without a water and electricity supply.
Seven radio stations were off the air on Monday and a curfew is still in effect with the police urging citizens to remain at home.
In St Kitts and Nevis, there were similar reports of high winds and heavy rains and two coast guard vessels ran aground at Timothy Beach in Frigate Bay.
In St Martin, there were no reports of injuries, while in the British Virgin Islands, Anegada, the northernmost of the BVI, was the closest of the islands to the centre of Earl and effects there have been mainly along the highly exposed coast.

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