We receive information from Primary Team 1 that they are in desperate
need of water baby and food supplies and we will share what we can upon
arrival in St. Georges. Levy is hale and confident, however, as his team
has done staunch work within the Rastafarian communities, organizing residents,
clearing debris and assisting in providing shelter and provision for all.
They have transportation and are powerfully glad that they can provide
this service to their brethren.
Our first sight of Grenada in the distance is a dark rock, looming out
of the sea, mountainous and forbidding, covered in dark shadows that raise
the neck hairs. We have tried to communicate this to Joanne Sealy on CBC
radio so our supporters can know where we are and what we are about to
attempt. “Yea though we walk through the shadow” is apt, as
this cloud extends the length and breadth of the island when all else
has been light and delightful. As we cruise about a mile offshore, we
are awed by the shoreline desecration; uprooted trees show tremendous
roots to the sky and debris and dead animals float this far out. “Shark
vomit” is the name given by Raman, describing the dirty foam line
of demarcation separating the clean sea from what appears a no-man’s
The devastation is everywhere we look; roofless buildings, shattered
shanties and boats flung asunder. It is difficult to imagine the human
mind bearing the force of what could only be a breaking of lives and livelihoods.
In one fell swoop, Ivan has obviously devastated a Nation that only a
strong populace, intensely focused, and with global support, can retrieve.
This is an awesome task; what are heartening are the signs of rebuilding
as fourteen days later, the tarpaulin covered homes and careful piles
of debris testify to the potential for restoration.
is reached by sea, as the original road and bridge was washed away. Only
two days ago, was the road through the countryside cleared enough for
wheeled transport to traverse through the forest. The jetty is full of
residents eagerly awaiting supplies and as the jetty is reasonably intact
and cleared of debris, a pirogue is loaded with all the supplies, and
three /four trips are made. Mrs. Ann Mc Fain, aunt to calypsonian, the
Mighty.. Scraper, ( Mr. Gay, our host) has arranged our meeting with Ms
Maxwell, and we climb a steep hill to the health centre. The
damages here are evident, but the residents are happily cleaning and clearing
up and grateful that their lives have been spared.
Speaking to many as we traverse the road to the centre, we are told of
the community effort that has replaced roofs, and for the first time,
we see the power of self-help in the clear brows, and healthy contentment
of children playing and helping their families. Speaking to Ms Maxwell,
she is obviously proud of the her clean effort that has been undertaken
by residents to restore a semblance of normality to this small fishing
village. Food supplies and clean water are shared and there is an awe-inspiring
sense of possibility and purpose evident in all we meet here on this damaged
coastline. We stress the need for boiling water to drink, and use of bottled
water for preparation of infant formulas. The residents are sitting debris
away from homes, burning wood for coal and as deterrent to rats and other
They are in dire need of a GENERATOR until power is restored, especially
as the health centre serves the needs of the six areas of St. Johns, St.
Marks, Gouyave, Grand Roi, Victoria and Florida.
Live births 2003 total 160
|Live births 2004 total 104
Gouyave is healing, slowly but surely and with God and the world’s
help, will thrive again if their current attitude is any indicator, but
significant assistance is needed; the supplies we have brought is but
a drop in the ocean and there is a real need for assistance for fisherfolk
to get their boats repaired and back in the water, as the ocean can ensure
their sustainability. They have the capability to generate foreign exchange,
far less feed their Nation with 90 lb tuna and other species teeming the
surrounding water and brought in by the storm. The women and children
are a moving force and the clinic is served by caring and dedicated practitioners.
Ms. Kathleen Maxwell is to be commended for her untiring efforts and it
is hoped that she will receive the assistance she requires as it will
remove one more burden on an already overwhelmed country.
It is nearing dusk as we depart Gouyave, the sun sinking into the ocean,
light fading from a flaming sky. The sea birds are fishing heartily and
flying fish skim the waves, a reminder of the good eating potential that
is Grenada’s hope.
THOUGHT: The need for self-help is evident and it may be better that
emphasis is placed on the capacity building capability of the media. Many
listen daily to CBC-900 and here, JOANNE SEALY CAN HELP by encouraging
listeners in affected communities to start clearing debris and sitting
it away from homes; burning this debris as safely as possible and removing
standing water to discourage the pit-bull mosquitoes that are alive and
well and thriving. We can assist by communicating the need for residents
to boil all drinking water to discourage gastroenteritis, breast feed
infants wherever possible and support the nursing mothers in the communities
so their milk supplies remain intact.
Speak out to residents with impaired health to take their medications
and get to a medical centre for instance, to check their insulin supply
if they have lost power. Hypertensives need to be sure to continue taking
their medications and ask for help from their neighbours. This is no time
for pride and by extending a helping hand, even from their own need is
an assurance of help for themselves. Clean up the communities and cordon
off dangerous sites to avoid further injury. Form Salvage teams to determine
what bits are useful and what should be destroyed. RAT BAIT is needed
as these are immense and roving father afield because they are hungry.
Dogs are packing up and this should be discouraged by restraining animals
wherever this can be done. Get our own health practitioners to speak out
to the listeners and civil engineers to encourage damage assessment from
within, Continue food collections and encourage fisherfolk support for
petrol as boats are the main way to establish a supply corridor to the
RELIEF EFFORTS: are apparently being hampered by the sheer overwhelming
task of identifying the priority needs and the fact that relief workers
are themselves affected by the lack of housing, basic utilities such as
power and running water, and they also have the task of ensuring their
own personal security in what is essentially, an unpredictable chaos.
Where to begin first?
We entered St. Georges at dark, entering the Careenage completely awestruck
at the desolation that lay before us. Off to starboard, the huge warehouse
showed a mass of twisted roofing, corkscrewed beams and was an obvious
example of the massive force of Ivan The Terrible. A country under martial
law has its own terrific atmosphere and St. Georges was no different with
the flashing beacons of emergency vehicles lending their own eerie lighting
to a desolate deserted wharf side. One was immediately aware that there
was a risk here, and we were determined to confront it. After holding
a fresh, we decided to make our way to the Coast Guard Base, and left
the boat as a group, posting a guard on the vessel. Traversing a pathway
around the perimeter of the dockside to the fire-station, was a revelation
of destruction. Shattered buildings and twisted metal bespoke the fury
of unleashed cyclonic energy run amok, as hungry dogs barked at us from
shadowy piles of debris. Groups of residents, huddled together to protect
their establishments from looters and minimal lighting cast fitful shadow