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CARRIACOU
HURRICANE IVAN RELIEF EFFORT REPORT 4
DAWNAY ST. JOHN, PRIMARY TEAM LEADER 2

Have spoken to Mr. Alan Jones, PS, PMO for the RSS who has promised us any assistance he can give, through making contacts etc. We are grateful as we have been apprehensive as to this leg of our journey, what with accounts of rape in shelters and violence, etc. there are rumors of a coup brewing, along with accounts of starving persons wreaking desperate havoc due to food and water shortages. It has been decided that in the interest of security, Jenny will remain behind ( to call out the cavalry if we go missing) and personal security will be augmented. Additionally, Jenny will finish assessing the schools we have not yet visited, and determine and photo document the status of these, as most schools double as hurricane shelters, and are not in the best of shape, from what we have observed.

We have prayed about this and the apprehension is now a thing of the past. It is obvious that we are meant to leave for Gouyave today, as the bits are falling into place to support this trod.. Whazzup Lord? Are we needed there so badly? I guess!

We have also made contact with PH Nurse Ms. Kathleen Maxwell through Scraper’s aunt, so as to make the Health centre available to receive the supplies and utilize the ambulance to transport same. A pirogue will also remain available to transport materials and personnel from boat.

We have sorted the supplies to ensure efficient handling by Ms. Maxwell’s crew as we will not remain on Gouyave overnight. WE have decided to continue into St. George’s and remain on board through the night as an added security measure; this will also give us the chance to get the information and video footage and photos out to CDERA< NERO< CERO etc.

Visit to GouyaveTo this end, a boat was chartered (right!) and petrol donated by Mr. Romaine of the “Silliry”, a permanently sited gas depot in the bay serving then boating community. We departed Carriacou approx.1:30 pm for Gouyave aboard the “Serenity” formerly “Charisma” , captained by Mr. Walter Oliver of Windward, Carriacou. Mr. Oliver also lost his other boat during Ivan’s tear-up as it washed onto shore. The mast of Serenity was snapped off at the base and the boat holed, but subsequently repaired. He is one who can be commended as he is doing his part for his countrymen despite his own losses. Heroism abounds and goes unremarked in these small and beautiful islands as the focus of the world remains on Grenada. ( 21 years ago next month, this country was in the news, hmm. Hope this is not cyclic…Francis, an integral team member was born during the uprising of October 1983.

To continue, the crossing was exceeding smooth, with flying fish and water fireworks sparkling our way… the weather is clear, calm and serene, an affirmation of the work we are doing and a boost to our confidence in this aspect of our journey. We will let it play out…

 

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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 land.

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.

GouyaveGouyave 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. GouyaveThe 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 vermin.

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.

  Gouyave Grand Roi Victoria
Pregnant 107 46 25 36

Live births 2003 total 160

96 34 57
Live births 2004 total 104 41 27 36


Diabetics/Hypertensives 186

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 outlying areas.

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

 
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