Here we publish an email from one of our friends on St Lucia, Brigitte Maronie, owner of Villa Caribbean Dream - 'a fascinating insight illustrating how everyone was caught out by Tomas - and the chaos it caused', Sara Macefield, travel journalist.
For those of you who did not know:
Hurricane "Tomas" hit us very hard on Saturday October 31st. It was very stressful, because we were completely unprepared. On Friday it was said that it would be a tropical storm and it would be heading out to the open Atlantic. But then in no time it suddenly came straight toward us and changed into a hurricane category 1 and later category 2. The eye passed through St Lucia and St Vincent with a wind speed of 150 km/h but the forward speed was only 10 km/h. That is why it took sooooo long (24 hrs.). It was pouring down rain all this time and everywhere was flooded. I was very stressed out and completely exhausted afterwards. We did not have electricity for 4 days and everything in my fridges and freezer was spoilt! Our telephone lines were not working and after 4 days we could use cell phones, but the internet only came back after 6 days.
Last Friday I had to work my German airline CONDOR - not expecting any arrivals. But they still brought 65 passengers who did not know what had happened here!! More stress again for me, because most of the hotels were closed and the roads were not accessible between Vieux-Fort and Castries and also Vieux-Fort to Soufriere. A lot of bridges were broken. So we had to organize little aircrafts for those people in the night and shuttle most of them to the north, where the damage was not so great. Anyway, we tried to handle it the best we could.
The island is devastated - especially the area around Soufriere. We have NO water in most areas up to now. But people are working feverishly to get things back to normal. We get quite a lot of aid from overseas and also have a lot of international volunteers helping with bringing in goods and fresh water as well as helping with the clean up. The roads are in a deplorable state, but also that is tackled speedily and hopefully things are running much more smoothly by next week. The country will be receiving tourists from November 12th again. Hopefully we have a good high season!!! We need it!
Anyway, just for you to know... I am ok, Noelita and Louis as well as To-To and Lu-Lu are also fine. Our house had only little damage (thanks God!!), but the garden looked like a mine field! We are still cleaning up and do repair works. My next guests will be arriving on November 16th. Until then everything hopefully will be alright.
My heart goes out to the relatives of people who lost their lives and to them who lost all their belongings! It was a very frightening experience for me after living here 31 years and I never had seen something like this. Thanks god, we are still alive. All my friends are ok too. It could have been worse.
I now look forward to welcoming new guests for the high season and hope that we do not get any bad weather within the next few weeks again. It would be great to see some of you again soon too!!! (Editor's note - We believe the best way to support Brigitte and her fellow islanders is to book a holiday now! Please see a review of her property - Villa Caribbean Dream!)
P.S. If you would like to look at some videos check on Youtube. There are lots. Here's a link to one by Mr Arnold Henry - The Aftermath of Hurricane Tomas in St Lucia:
Love to you all .... and let's stay in touch!
Very sunny greetings from St.Lucia!
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