A house damaged as a result of the heavy rains and floods.

A number of houses were destroyed and other damaged in several areas in St. Vincent and the Grenadines, while floodwaters exposed the contents of some graves at the Sandy Bay Cemetery and blocked, damaged, or destroyed a number of bridges as a trough system dumped large amounts of rain across the country Monday night into Tuesday morning.

A flood warning remains in effect for SVG until 12 noon today, Tuesday, as heavy rains are expected to continue to impact the country.

Schools will remain closed today and all but non-essential workers have been ordered to stay at home amidst fears that saturated soils could give way to landslides.

Deputy Director of the National Emergency Management Organisation (NEMO), Michelle Forbes, said Tuesday morning that floods and landslides have already been reported in a number of areas in St. Vincent.

“We are asking persons to stay off the road. We already have floods in several communities in St. Vincent and we expect the rains to continue,” Forbes said.

A pedestrian bridge is full of debris after the rains and floods Monday night. A pedestrian bridge is full of debris after the rains and floods Monday night.

She said NEMO has received reports of flooding in Rose Bank, Dark View, Vermont, Sandy Bay, Owia, and some areas of Georgetown,

“We are asking residents on [the] banks of all the major rivers in mainland St. Vincent to exercise caution. Do not wait until the rivers have started to overflow to evacuate to higher grounds.”

Forbes also urged persons living in areas prone to landslide to take precaution, adding that there were already landslides in Sandy Bay, which has cut off vehicular traffic to areas north of the North Windward community.

Forbes said that persons who do not have to be on the roads should stay at home and away from flooded areas.

Some roads were impassable as result of the rains and floods.
Some roads were impassable as result of the rains and floods.

“Stay away from those areas that can be flooded. We expect these rains to move across the middle of the island. Other areas may become impacted. Persons in areas like Mespo, Kingstown, we already have some flooding in Vermont, persons living in Buccament Bay, South Rivers, and along the major rivers that we have had flooding in the past, exercise caution,” Forbes said.

The flood watch for SVG that was issued on the weekend was upgraded to a flood warning on Monday.

A flood warning is issued when flooding is imminent or is already occurring.

The Barbados Meteorological Services says an eastward moving trough system that has been affecting the islands overnight, will continue to produce moderate to heavy showers, thunderstorms and gusty winds across SVGs throughout Tuesday morning.

The rains exposed the contents of several graves at the Sandy Bay Cemetery.
The rains exposed the contents of several graves at the Sandy Bay Cemetery.

Further rainfall accumulations of 125 mm (5 inches) are still possible during the next 12 hours, with higher amounts in mountainous areas.

Due to the already saturated nature of the soils, residents living in landslide-prone areas and in areas along riverbanks, such as Buccament Bay, Rose Place, South Rivers, Spring Village, Vermont, Roucher Bay, Mesopotamia, Sandy Bay, Georgetown, Mt. Young, Byera, Gorse, Chateaubelair, Buddy Gutter, Calliaqua, Barrouallie, Layou and Fitz- Hughes are advised to exercise extreme caution and remain on the alert, NEMO said.

Forecasters say the flood warning may be further extended should conditions become necessary.

NEMO said that the National Emergency Operation Centre (NEOC) has been partially activated and NEMO, through the Barbados Meteorological Services and the St. Vincent and the Grenadines Meteorological Office will continue to monitor the situation.

FLOOD WARNING TIPS

What to Do During a Flood WARNING

  • Tune in to your local radio or television stations for the latest updates.
  • Be alert to signs of flooding. A WARNING means a flood is imminent or is happening in the area.
  • If you live in a flood-prone area or think you are at risk, evacuate immediately. Move quickly to higher ground.
  • Leave early enough to avoid being stranded on flooded roads.
  • Follow the instructions and advice of NEMO.
  • Any electrical items stored on low shelves or on the floor should be moved to higher areas where water levels will not be expected.
  • Store drinking water in sealable containers.
  • Place important documents in plastic bags and or sturdy plastic containers and store them in areas where water level is not expected to reach.
  • Ensure that you have your emergency supply kit.

During the Flood

  • Avoid areas subject to flash flooding;
  • Don’t attempt to cross rivers or flowing streams where water is above the knees;
  • If driving, don’t attempt to cross rivers, flowing streams or flash floods where water
  • is – or may be — deeper than six inches;
  • Beware of water-covered roads and bridges;
  • Never play in high water or storm drains; you may get swept away by fast-moving water.
  • Avoid swimming in flooded areas as the water often contains bacteria, downed utility lines or chemicals that may cause harm.
  • Turn off your water, electricity and gas supply at the main switches. Disconnect all electrical devices/appliances.
  • Do not touch electrical equipment if you are wet or standing in water.

One reply on “Houses destroyed as rains trigger floods across St. Vincent”

  1. Such damage will go up as the density of housing goes up and as these weather events, some perhaps related to natural or human-induced climate change, increase.

    But this and previous governments have much to answer for not putting in place and strongly enforcing building and zoning regulations, by refusing to install proper drainage in flood risk areas, and by turning a blind eye to almost all the building of houses by squatters in flood prone areas, especially riversides and very steep slopes, a phenomenon that is increasing all the time.

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