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Grenadians Remember Ivan’s Wrath

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Updates to Hurricane Frances

Weather Information Service Number

(758) 454-3452

Contact: Claudia Monlouis

Wednesday, September 07, 2005 - One year ago today, on September 7th 2004, St. Lucia was one of many Caribbean countries in the path of a powerful category three, hurricane Ivan.
But after the system changed course, St .Lucia was spared the worst, recording only minimal damage.

National focus shifted quickly to Grenada which had been demolished by the hurricane.

Director of St. Lucia’s National Emergency Management Organization Miss. Dawn French was one of the persons instrumental in mobilising St. Lucia’s significant role in Grenada’s recovery. She says healing process is slow as can be expected.

“The recovery as you are aware in Grenada was taken back a step when Hurricane Emily hit but they are continuing. The St. Lucia Red Cross is collaborating with them as far as World Cup Cricket 2007 is concerned because they are one of the venues for Cricket World Cup. Their strategy for recovery is underway, they’ve actually set up an office for National Reconstruction, and they have been given a five year mandate to return the island to how it was before Ivan hit.”

Prolonged winds of about 115 miles per hour from hurricane Ivan crumbled some 89 percent of Grenada’s infrastructure and destroyed the agriculture and tourism sectors.

Miss French says it will be years before nutmeg regains prominence as a booming industry. “The International Federation of the Red Cross and the St. Lucia Red Cross has begun a programme with farmers that include distributing seeds so they could start the process of replanting but the main crop which is the nutmeg will take a little while longer. It takes nine years for a nutmeg tree to fully mature and start bearing.”

But optimism, she says, is growing stronger among over 89 thousand Grenadians led by the Office of National Reconstruction. Today, Grenada is relying heavily on tourism to continue to fuel the economy.

Grenadians remember some 28 persons who lost their lives during the passage of the hurricane. Ms. Samantha Duncan, Administrator in the Grenada Red Cross Office spoke to a reporter at the Government Service in Saint Lucia on the eve of the nation’s solemn observation of Ivan’s passage

Ms Duncan says Grenadians are not the laid back people they once were, and viewing television images of the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina on the United States Coast is particularly disturbing at this time.

“The mood of persons- I would say somewhat subdued because yes we have survived a year after the hurricane; however we had Emily just in July and with the destruction wrought by Katrina in Louisiana and other states we are still somewhat frightened, because the hurricane season is not over and there is talk that there’s more to come and with much greater force than there was before, so we are still somewhat uneasy.”

The Red Cross official said official government aid has dwindled but the country remains reliant upon donations since much help is still needed to continue recovery efforts.

“Truth be told Ivan has been gone for a year and the media only remembers something because of its news worthiness, so of course Grenada’s plight has not been getting as much airplay as we would have been getting on September 8th 2004.”

She also took the opportunity to thank Saint Lucians for their invaluable support given to Grenada.

“Well I thank you for your support because I know that St .Lucia Red Cross has been one of our supportive Red Cross societies as well. Thank you for your interest because it shows Caribbean integration which is something we’re all trying to achieve now and hopefully there will not be a reoccurrence of such a disaster.”

Hurricane Ivan, informally re-named “Ivan the Terrible”; has been permanently struck off the Atlantic Tropical Storms Names List by the World Meteorological Organization.

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