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PM, OAS send condolence to Eastern Caribbean states hit by flood

Friday, December 27, 2013    

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PRIME Minister Portia Simpson Miller yesterday expressed sadness at the loss of life and destruction of property as a result of the adverse weather conditions which have affected the Caribbean islands of St Lucia, St Vincent and the Grenadines, and Dominica.

Up to 13 persons were killed, a number still missing and several injured, while there was significant damage to personal property and infrastructure on the affected islands.

"The people of Jamaica join me in expressing deep sadness at this tragedy which has affected our Caribbean sisters and brothers. Our sincere sympathy to the families of those who have died, suffered injuries, lost their homes or businesses or have been displaced by the devastating floods," the prime minister said yesterday.

She noted that the effect of the floods was heightened in light of its timing on Christmas Eve as families had gathered to celebrate the season of goodwill.

"Our prayers are with our Caribbean neighbours in St Lucia, St Vincent and the Grenadines, and Dominica. Please accept my best wishes and the support of the Government and people of Jamaica as you commence the daunting task of cleaning up, rehabilitation and reconstruction," the prime minister said.

Also yesterday, the Organisation of American States (OAS) expressed "deep sorrow" over the loss of lives and severe damage caused by unseasonably heavy rainfall that battered Dominica, St Lucia and St Vincent and the Grenadines.

OAS Secretary General José Miguel Insulza expressed his "sincere condolence" to the governments and the peoples of the affected countries on their loss and assured them that the Washington-based hemispheric body stood in solidarity with them at a very difficult time.

"This is very bad news, even more that it has occurred on Christmas Day. The unseasonable nature of the heavy rains and flooding raises once again the impact of climate change in the Caribbean region," he said in a statement.

The OAS secretary general said he would shortly convene other agencies within the Inter-American system to "mobilise a hemispheric response to the debilitating effects of what is becoming known as the Christmas Day rains in the southern Eastern Caribbean".

In St Vincent and the Grenadines, several communities remained cut-off yesterday as nationals continued to count their human and material losses as a result of the slow-moving, low-level trough that battered the island for more than 48 hours.

The National Emergency Management Organisation reported that several communities remained cut-off due to damaged bridges and blocked roads.

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