EU gives more than €300,000 to flood-hit Caribbean

In response to serious damage caused by bad weather in the Eastern Caribbean on Christmas Eve, the European Commission’s Department of Humanitarian Aid and Civil Protection (ECHO) has released more than €300,000 (US$408,000) to bring relief to the population most affected by floods.

“Damage in the Eastern Caribbean has been very significant, mainly because the Low Level Trough System unexpectedly occurred outside the Atlantic Hurricane Season. The European Commission wants to help the emergency relief effort with this immediate allocation of aid,” said Jocelyn Lance, Head of the ECHO Caribbean Office.

On 24 December 2013 severe rains and high winds struck due to an unexpected Low Level Trough System and caused severe floods, landslides and damage in St Lucia and St Vincent & Grenadines, leaving 15 people dead and around 220,000 affected.

A release from the European Commission yesterday said that in St Vincent and the Grenadines, critical infrastructure was affected by flooding and landslides, including the airport and main hospital.

The release said that the damage has been so extensive that the government declared a Level 2 disaster, which calls for regional assistance.

In Saint Lucia, the release said that water systems collapsed due to flooding leaving the entire population without access.

Power outages, landslides, damage and blockage of roads, bridges and homes occurred  island-wide.  Agricultural crops, especially bananas and vegetables, were also severely hit, with damage of up to 90% of the crop, the release said.

The immediate priorities are access to safe water and sanitation, distribution of relief items, health and housing, the release added.