On Sunday, November 6, the northern part of Saint Lucia was pounded by heavy rainfall caused by a trough, leaving a trail of destruction in its path. Low-Lying areas in the north experienced flash flooding caused by the incessant downpours. Cars and other unsecured objects could be seen floating aimlessly down community streets throughout Gros Islet. Thankfully, there was no loss of life but residents in the flood-stricken areas incurred great loss and damage to homes and property.
As the storm moved north, heavy rains blasted the east coast of Dominica, causing riverbanks to flood. One local man lost his life to a landslide, while many remain in danger. The storm uprooted trees and ripped open newly constructed roads in Castle Bruce. Exposed boulders, power losses, and lack of access to water threatened local communities for the week following.
Dominica’s Delices Primary School, Grand Bay Primary School, Grand Fond Primary School, Jones Beaupierre Primary, Morne Jaune Primary School, Castle Bruce Primary and secondary were all affected by road closures and power loss. After a temporary shift to remote classrooms, roads have been successfully cleared, and students made their way back to school for in-person once again.
In Saint Lucia, Corinth Secondary, Bexon Primary, and Dame Pearlette Louisy Primary were all impacted by the flood waters. The first two schools were able to continue with class, but the latter which was most impacted, remained closed.
The Dame Pearlette Louisy Primary School has an enrollment of 927 students. Of these, about 300 students in the infant department are housed on the ground floor. The ground floor which also houses offices, a music room, staff room and kitchen, saw water levels up to three feet high submerging furniture, books, charts, school supplies, instructional aid and digital devices including photocopiers, printers and computers, dumping a thick layer of mud on everything in its path. The damage was very extensive with the perimeter fencing flattened in most of the areas.
After a week of deep cleaning, Grades 2 to 6 returned to school while Kindergarten and Grade 1 are engaged virtually.
Hands Literacy Links Sheila Serville and Mary-Anna Antoine of Saint Lucia and Lize Bardouille and Giselle Laurent of Dominica are Hands’ boots on the ground. Their service includes school check-ins and site visits to ensure children receive ongoing support and educational programming. Hands Across the Sea maintains its commitment to sustainable literacy programs by providing new book replacements and leadership where libraries have been impacted by natural disaster.