Impact of Hurrican Lennie On St. Lucia's West Coast
November 24, 1999
Hurricane Lenny began to affect the Lesser Antilles early on the morning of November 17. Although hurricane or tropical storm conditions were not expected to affect St Lucia, storm surge and heavy waves pounded the west coast of St Lucia over the course of November 17, and into November 18, 1999. Hurricane Lenny was unique in that it approached the island chain from the west, and severely affected over an unusually extensive period, the island's normally sheltered west coast.
Development on the west coast of St Lucia has been predominantly in the low lying coastal areas, and there is a mixture of residential, institutional, commercial and touristic land uses within the coastal zone. As a result, all these sectors and their supporting infrastructure have been affected by the passage of Hurricane Lenny.
This document summarizes the assessment at November 22, 1999 of the gross impacts and anticipated recovery costs in the hardest hit communities of Soufriere, Gros Islet and Choiseul, as well as those in Anse La Raye and Canaries and focuses primarily on the effects on residential and institutional structures and on infrastructure. The three communities of Soufriere, Gros Islet and Choiseul in particular suffered severe coastal erosion, flattened buildings, and scouring of walls and structures in the areas of impact.
DAMAGE INCURRED IN SOUFRIERE, GROS ISLET, CHOISEUL, CANARIES AND ANSE LA RAYE.
Damage assessment particulars and recovery cost estimates for Soufriere, Choiseul, Gros Islet, Canaries and Anse La Raye are summarized in Tables 1,2,3,4 and 5 respectively.
In addition, the Fisheries Dept's preliminary estimated cost of damage to canoes and other fishing equipment in the communities of Anse La Raye, Canaries, Soufriere, Choiseul, River Doree and Roseau is $276,900. Damage to fish pots has not been assessed. An assessment of damage to coral and other marine ecosystems, and to fisheries infrastructure will be undertaken as soon as technically feasible.
Total costs are summarized in Table 6.
The town of Soufriere is located on the south west coast of St Lucia, and depends largely on tourism and agriculture. This community was the worst affected by the passage of Hurricane Lenny.
The town of Gros Islet on the north west coast, is a fishing village, also heavily reliant on the tourist trade.
The village of Choiseul, also located on the south west coast of St Lucia, is a fishing and agricultural community.
The other affected communities rely primarily on fisheries.
The damage wrought by Hurricane Lenny in Baron's Drive and Coin de Lance, Soufriere reinforces our recognition that consideration must be given to reducing the effects of such natural hazards in the future by avoiding hazardous areas, and/or building to standards sufficient to withstand the effects of the anticipated hazards. The affected households in Baron's Drive are predominantly low income, and the overall impact on their incomes will be severe, particularly as the likelihood of their having adequate property insurance is negligible. Government had previously realized the need to relocate the entire squatter community of Baron's Drive. This is a deprived neighbourhood comprising some 100 homes in poor condition. As noted in Table 1, some 53 houses in Baron's Drive have been damaged, many beyond repair. Rather than assist the most severely affected residents, numbering approximately 200, to rebuild in Baron's Drive, a vulnerable and therefore unsuitable location, that they will in the short to medium term be required to vacate, there is a need to relocate them permanently out of the area.
Government had conducted a socio-economic assessment of the 42 affected families, that will inform its relocation plan. Relocation sites have been identified, and Government has mobilized surveyors to undertake the necessary surveys in advance of acquisition.
Unfortunately, the Government has fully committed its disaster response contingency funds to the Black Mallet Landslide Response over the last month. The Caribbean Development Bank has already been approached to further assist the government with an Emergency Response Loan for the Black Mallet Response.
While Government has already commenced cleaning up and reinstatement of utilities and infrastructure, assistance must be sought from other agencies, to support the Government's relief efforts, particularly in the Soufriere, Gros Islet and Choiseul communities.
TABLE 1: SOUFRIERE DAMAGE ASSESSMENT PARTICULARS
TABLE 2: CHOISEUL DAMAGE ASSESSMENT PARTICULARS
TABLE 3: GROS ISLET DAMAGE ASSESSMENT PARTICULARS
TABLE 4: CANARIES DAMAGE ASSESSMENT PARTICULARS
TABLE 5: ANSE LA RAYE DAMAGE ASSESSMENT PARTICULARS
TABLE 6: SUMMARY OF DAMAGE ASSESSMENT PARTICULARS
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