Grenada

First hurricane of 2005 season brings Grenada's struggling reconstruction efforts to its knees

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Barbados, 15 July 2005 -- Barely ten months after Hurricane Ivan swept away 80 per cent of Grenada's infrastructure and destroyed 90 percent of the nation's 28,000 homes, Grenada was hit this week by Hurricane Emily -- a category 1 storm, which hit the country on 13 July. Over 50 percent of houses damaged by Ivan were still awaiting repair, and technical capacity even before this new hurricane struck was modest in most sectors.
UNDP's Grenada-based team of disaster mitigation and reconstruction experts has concluded its initial damage assessment visit to a number of areas including the parish of St. George, St. John's, St. Mark's and the two northern parishes of St. Patrick's and St. Andrew's.

"The devastating effect of Hurricane Emily has compounded an already bad situation still affecting many persons who were barely recovering from the destruction left by Ivan," said Rosina Wiltshire, United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) Resident Representative and UN Resident Coordinator for Barbados and the Organization of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS), whose office overseas reconstruction and recovery in Grenada. "Now progress has been severely impacted and we have to again start rebuilding but and this will severely test the country's capacity for reconstruction."

The team's preliminary observations show that the whole of Grenada was badly affected by this new hurricane with the worst hit areas being the parishes of St. Andrew's, St. Patrick's and the northern portion of the parish of St. David's.

Damage ranges from roof loss and fallen houses, mud slides, flooding, road breakages, as well as downing of telephone and power lines. Infrastructural damage to bridges and utility poles was evident throughout the island.

An assessment of the damage by sector is as follows:

- Housing. According to the National Disaster Management Agency, preliminary reports show that over 400 houses lost roofs and 83 were completely destroyed in the island of Grenada. The outer islands of Carricou and Petit Martinique also experienced severe damage to the housing stock. According to first assessments over 250 houses were damaged in Carriacou alone, of which between 5 - 10 percent were completely destroyed.

- Agriculture. This sector has been severely hit by Emily, destroying what little progress had been made after Hurricane Ivan. Recently planted cash crops like corn and pigeon peas, bananas and other short crops have been largely destroyed. Remaining breadfruit trees and many of the nutmeg and cocoa trees have also been affected.

- Shelter. Preliminary information shows that 1735 persons were in 48 shelters.

As of today, the main needs identified are for tarpaulins, bedding, medication for the elderly, food, building supplies.

Even though the Caribbean Hurricane season has just started -- it runs from 1 June to 30 November -- UNDP and Caribbean leaders are already bracing for more. Indeed, two other named systems are already reported off the African coast.

For more information contact: Andy Taitt, Tel. 1 246 467 6034, andy.taitt@undp.org.

UNDP is the United Nations worldwide development network. It advocates change and provides countries with access to the knowledge, skills and resources their populations need to improve their lives. To receive more UNDP news bulletins about development issues and projects around the world, please subscribe here: http://www.undp.org/dpa/journalists/subscribe.html.