The National Emergency Management Organisation (NEMO) has warned of the real and present threat posed by storms to Saint Lucia and other Caribbean Islands, with months to go before the Atlantic Hurricane season officially ends on November 30.
The warning came as damage assessment in the aftermath of Hurricane Elsa continues here.
Elsa hit Saint Lucia on Friday, resulting in widespread damage.
Officials say the agriculture sector sustained the most severe damage with the impact on crops preliminarily estimated at over $34 million.
One man, 58 year old Peter Victor, died during the passage of the storm when his house at Fond St Jacques, Soufriere, collapsed as he lay on his bed.
NEMO Director, Dorine Gustave, in a statement Monday, expressed condolences to the relatives of the deceased.
She explained that NEMO believes that one life lost is one too many, because property can be replaced.
Gustave said the organisation has received reports of partial and total damage to homes throughout Saint Lucia.
She reminded citizens that they are still in the midst of an active Atlantic hurricane season and based on the destructive nature of tropical activities, they should continue hurricane preparedness if they have not yet done so.
“I remind you of the present and real threat and danger these activities can have on our society, from economic to social and loss of lives and livelihoods,” Gustave said in a video recorded message, as she noted that Elsa had also affected several Islands in the Caribbean chain with rainfall and gusty winds.
“We have about 15 more storms remaining and it takes only one to cause a catastrophic effect on any one country,” the NEMO Director explained.
Gustave observed that with the rise in climate change, there has been the rapid intensification of hurricanes.
By way of example, she recalled that Tropical Storm Elsa changed rapidly into a hurricane within a short space of time.
And she declared that this could only have been made possible due to climate change and the effect of climate change on small Island developing states.
“This could only be mitigated through preparedness,” Gustave stated.