A. Situation analysis
Description of the disaster
On Tuesday, 29 November 2016, St. Vincent and the Grenadines was impacted by heavy rains, which resulted in flooding and landslides in several communities. Sandy Bay in the north-eastern area of St. Vincent was the most severely affected community; however, the villages of Magum, Orange Hill, Overland,
London, Point, Owia and Fancy in the north-east and Spring Village, Coulls Hill, Troumaca, Rose Bank, Sharpes, Fitz Hughes and Chateaubelair in the northwest of St. Vincent were also impacted. Some people suffered losses to their subsistence crops and livestock, and a they are experiencing severe psychosocial effects, access to water and sanitation issues, and financial challenges as a direct consequence of the flooding.
The government reported that the physical infrastructure (roads and bridges) was extensively damaged.
Mudflows and debris blocked many roadways. and coupled with the infrastructural damage, made many communities inaccessible by road. The public works clean-up efforts are extensive and ongoing, and volunteers within the communities are also involved in self-help clean-up activities to restore normalcy in the shortest possible timeframe.
Flooding and landslides caused significant damage to major pipelines supplying the villages throughout the northeastern quarter of St. Vincent; water for the area is supplied by tenders from the Central Water and Sewage Authority.
The CWSA reported that the Jennings System is down, which affected water supply in the following areas: Byera, Mannings Village, Colonaire, Park Hill, South Rivers, Mt. Grenan, Diamonds Village, New Grounds, Lowmans WD, Hadley’s Village, North Union, South Union, Cedars, Biabou, Jeffrey, Spring, Peruvian Vale, Argyle, Mt. Pleasant, Rawacou, Stubbs, Calder, Carapan and Diamond; other areas affected by water issues were the areas supplied by the Perseverance water distribution system: Mt. Young, Georgetown, Dickson, O’Briens Valley, Spring, Mt. Bentick, Langley Park, Chapmans Village, Rabacca, Orange Hill, Field 18 and Tourama and Sandy Bay, and water supply is also affected in the North Leeward area from Coulls Hill to Richmond.
The flooding destroyed 15 houses, severely damaged 20 houses and partially damaged more than 50.
Assessments are ongoing. Apart from the physical damage, many houses were inundated by flood water which damaged household items. Three collective centers were opened in Sandy Bay, and there are 55 people in emergency centres and 66 persons in secondary shelters (relatives and friends); throughout the country, there are 79 people in emergency centres and 100 in secondary shelters. The families are cleaning their homes, but they lack the necessary equipment to remove settled water and silt; additionally, the areas around the affected houses are muddy and further rains are worsening the situation. Some people have lost their small subsistence crops and animals, and are facing severe food shortage and financial needs.
Shelter, water and sanitation are important priorities for the communities in the foreseeable future; nevertheless, the issue of psychosocial support looms large as a priority for the short, medium and long-term.
Summary of the current response
Overview of Host National Society The St. Vincent and the Grenadines Red Cross Society Community Disaster Response Teams (CDRT), National Intervention Teams (NIT) and volunteers have worked on the response operation since the beginning of the disaster. The National Society has 10 Regional Intervention Team (RIT)-trained members (2 water and sanitation (WATSAN), 2 Logistics, 1 Information and reporting, 1 communication, 1 IT/Telecommunication and 3 General) and 83 general NIT members.
The Communities of Sandy Bay, Owia and Fancy were rendered unreachable because of a number of landslides and collapsed bridges. The water supply was disrupted for the initial 48 after the onset of the flooding. The National Emergency Management Office (NEMO) and the Coast Guard provided 100 cases of bottled water from29 to 30 November, which were distributed by the CDRT and volunteers to the collective centres and people’s homes. The CWSA and the SVGRC mounted operations to provide safe drinking water to the most affected communities of Sandy Bay, Owia, Fancy.
The National Society delivered 32,331 US gallons of water from 1 to 4 December 2016 to 300 families in the area of Sandy Bay using its EW403D water purification unit, which has the capacity to distribute 1,056 US gallons per hour; it was purchased by the Disaster Relief Emergency Fund (DREF) in 2013)
Eighty of the National Society’s 150 volunteers are involved in the operation; on the first day of the operation,
SVGRC volunteers manned the telephones at NEMO’s emergency operation centre (EOC), enabling them to collect valuable information on the emergency; they also brought water, to Sandy Bay communities by foot that were inaccessible to vehicles on 29 and 30 November, , dressed injured people’s wounds in the collective centres and assisted with general shelter management. Moreover, the volunteers assisted with the assessments and the food and water distributions, handed out blankets at the Rose Bank and Sandy Bay collective centres and food packages purchased by NEMO to families in Sandy Bay’s North Leeward and North-East districts.