“I didn’t buy candles or anything because I never expected it to be so bad,” said Kim, a young St. Lucian woman with wide eyes.
Along with her boyfriend, Mathius, Kim lives in a small, wooden home in Fond St. Jacques which was hit by Hurricane Tomas with the force of a category 1 storm. Tomas left widespread devastation throughout St. Lucia with extremely strong winds and flooding that damaged homes and infrastructure including critical roads and bridges. Kim and Mathius awoke in the middle of the night to realize that their house had completely flooded.
“I never heard the wind so before,” Kim said. “It woke both me and Mathius up. I started to scream because the water was getting higher and higher. It was raining endless and the water was sounding so scary.”
The heavy rains had caused the local river to overflow and flooded numerous homes throughout their community. Kim and Mathius waded frantically to the back of their home to check on the pigs they raised in the backyard for extra income. The raging waters had carried them away along with their pens and all the plants. The house began to shake and the couple tried desperately to get out of the rushing waters. Mathius tried to lead Kim and their neighbors to seek refuge in the bar next door, but it too had been washed away. He fell while making his way back and sustained minor injuries to his upper body and his head.
Kim and Mathius and most of their neighbors are now staying in a temporary emergency shelter in a local church where International Medical Corps is supporting the provision of emergency medical care. Drawing upon experienced personnel from within St. Lucia, International Medical Corps has been one of the few international organizations able to immediately respond to the emergency humanitarian crises in the country. We are undertaking a comprehensive package of emergency and recovery services in hurricane affected communities in Fond St. Jacques as well as Dennery, Vieux Fort, Soufriere and Canaries. True to our mission, International Medical Corps’ goal is to rebuild the local health system while restoring basic services and training locals in health care services.
Mathius was able to get treatment for his head injuries from our medical staff and is hopeful that he and Kim can soon return to their home. They now sleep on wooden benches in the church and look to their neighbors for comfort.
“We have nothing. We really did not expect this. I cannot even think straight to tell you what we plan to do,” says Kim. “I just keep praying that God will take us through. We’re just hoping to have some place to call home – soon.”