Returning home

Prime Minister Dr. Ralph Gonsalves is cutting short a visit to Europe and is expected back home on Thursday as the death toll from the rains over the past 48 hours reached seven.

A brief statement from the Office of the Prime Minister said that Gonsalves, who had gone to Rome and met with Pope Francis and was spending the Christmas holidays in London, will now return on Thursday instead of his original date of December 28.

Emergency rescue teams said they had recovered seven bodies so far and that three other persons were missing and feared dead from the rains that had been associated with a trough that was also affecting other Caribbean countries, most notably Dominica and St. Lucia.

At least three people were reported killed in St. Lucia and officials in the two countries – Dominica and St. Lucia- spoke of widespread damage to roads, buildings and bridges being washed away.

Among the bodies recovered were those of a two-year-old baby boy and his 18-year-old sister.

One man said his eight-year-old daughter who had gone visiting her mother had also been swept away by the floods and one female employee of the Buccament Bay Resort was reported missing as employees attempted to cross the bridge leading to the village.

Parts of North leeward on northwestern side of St. Vincent, where five people died, remained cut off from the rest of the island.

The Paediatric Ward at the Milton Cato Memorial Hospital has been flooded and heavy flooding was also reported in other parts of the capital, Kingstown.

Deputy Director of the National Emergency Management Organization (NEMO), Michelle Forbes, said that the Building Roads and General Services Authority (BRAGSA) and the Ministry of Transport and Works have reported that several bridges and roads have been damaged and that assessments would be undertaken as soon as possible.