NEMO releases statement on system’s failure to properly analyse and predict Christmas Eve storm

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NEMO releases statement on system’s failure to properly analyse and predict Christmas Eve storm
Below the hole in the Anse Ger incident. The road was split.
Below the hole in the Anse Ger incident. The road was split.

Below is the full statement from National Emergency Management Organisation (NEMO) released yesterday, a day after the storm.

The National Emergency Management Organisation is in assessment and response mode following a weather event which lasted from the morning (around 6:00 am) of December 24th into the early hours (around 4:45 am) of December 25th, 2013.

Forecasters could not predict this weather event as the Met Services equipment has been compromised. Additionally radar equipment located in Martinique, on which Saint Lucia’s Met Services depends for weather forecasting, was down resulting in severely hampered ability to analyze and predict this weather event.

Reports indicate the Trough System resulted in 171.1 mm of rainfall within a 24 hour period ending at 8:50 am on December 25th, 2013.

Reports coming from disaster committees located in the towns and villages of Saint Lucia indicate the following:

Widespread and severe flooding in Central Castries, Bexon, Anse-La-Raye, Micoud, Vieux Fort, Dennery, Soufriere and other locales. Flooding has resulted in loss of personal property and business inventory.

Reports indicate Anse-La-Raye and Bexon were hardest hit by flooding.

The Canaries bridge has been confirmed damaged and impassable. The Piaye bridge is also confirmed impassable.

Several unconfirmed reports of loss of life attributable to the weather event have been received by NEMO. Most of the reports indicate individuals attempting to cross swollen rivers or flooded roads and other areas.

Deaths reported but currently unconfirmed:

* One unidentified male police officer from Vieux Fort while on duty – a wall may have collapsed on him.
* One unidentified male from Micoud. The body is at the Micoud Police Station.
* NEMO has also been informed of three (3) members of a family from Micoud who were caught in rising water while in their vehicle. In that situation two (2) adult males are unconfirmed dead; 1 female child (age unknown) is currently hospitalized.
* Another unconfirmed report informs of a death by electrocution in Dennery.

NEMO is awaiting confirmation of all reported deaths. Confirmation of death is given only by a medical doctor.

NEMO has deployed a damage needs assessment (DANA) flight via helicopter. The DANA team consists of NEMO personnel, a cameraman from the Government Information Service and flight personnel. The team has returned and photos and video footage has been handed over to NEMO for assessment and reporting purposes.

A team from the Ministry of Education is assessing the state of schools; Crisis Committees from the Ministries of Health and Tourism have been activated and will liaise with NEMO following their sector meetings.

LUCELEC has estimated approximately 15% of its customer base is without power. The company currently has several crews working in the field at the moment responding to “no power” calls in areas they can access, while other personnel are trying to determine how best to respond in difficult to reach areas.

Telecommunications via the Emergency Operating Centre and some of its District Emergency Management Committees is spotty as phone lines are reported down from Dennery to the south of the island.

USAID AND CDEMA Reps on island have reported into EOC to act as liaison between NEMO and their organisations, to provide technical/advisory and later financial support where necessary.

NEMO is urging all residents to remain indoors as sightseeing is NOT recommended under the circumstances. Emergency response personnel are already under pressure and should not be responding to self-created emergencies at this time.

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33 COMMENTS

  1. Well, well, well. So now the truth is out. Martinique is outraged and dissociates itself from NEMO's statements. A downright lie to the people of St. Lucia and worse at a time of crisis.

    Can one imagine Martinique now saying their radar was never down. Shame and disgrace on NEMO. A full and urgent inquiry warranted

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  2. Everybody and their dog uses the weather channel. Very often I listen to the weather news and it is verbatim what is on the weather channel. You mean they did not use this source, or maybe even they don't understand what the weather they read actually says. And while your radar might have been down (I think that's a boldfaced lie) you could have telephoned to find out why it was down and wouldn't you then find out that horrible weather had hit Martinique and thus may be on its way to St. Lucia? More ineptitude, more lies, more grand standing - the order of the day from leaders of every sector. You say "Forecasters could not predict this weather event as the Met Services equipment has been compromised." Interesting choice of verb tense. It has been versus HAD been compromised. This suggest that the compromising followed rather than preceded whatever event is the subject of this statement. Thus the compromising followed the negligence in forecasting, thus, the equipment failure is nt to blame for the lack of a forecast then, but could be blamed for lack of subsequent forecasts. Nicely hiding a lie - truly NEMO is about disaster mitigation - its own disasters. With all this said, NEMO has served us well in the past, but this time they really dropped the ball and it cost 6 lives, and millions of dollars. BUt that's ok, this is St. Lucia where we are happy, and only the poor must account for their actions, errors, misevaluations or inactions.

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  3. STOP BLAMING NEMO. ALMOST EVERYBODY OWNS A SMART PHONE AND CAN TRACK THE WEATHER SO DONT COME WITH THAT NONSENSE. IF IS TO TRACK THEIR MAN OR WOMAN THEY WILL BUT FOR THE OWN WELFARE THEY PLAYING DUMB.

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  4. If the radar has not been working for a period of time, would that prevent NEMO from using other sources of Weather forecasting to warn us?

    That is total BS. This is nothing but incompetence on their part and their ability to have use other sources to do their job. There should be total accountability and someone needs to be resigned from her job. Because if they were effective the life's lost with have been saved.

    I am sick to my stomach that Saint Lucia cannot do without someone giving us hand-outs even down to our own weather predicting radar. We are backward as a people, that we are even incapable of building "A BRIDGE." So why the hell is the government paying those fat asses Engineers for? Were is the standards and the foresight in those people? Where is the Ingenuity ability to think and use intelligence with logic to build such infra-structure and make it stand. How many times are we going to build bridges over and over? When is the GOVERNMENT going to stop handing such contracts to GET VOTES FROM INFLUENTIAL PEOPLE AND THE IDIOTS OR GOATS AMONGST US, and later to be laughed at and mocked, because we as a people, cannot construct a PROPER BRIDGE TO WITH STAND A FLOOD.

    What a 4fking SHAME.

    Its HIGH TIME that the Government of SLU, begin to think with their BRAIN and not out of STUPIDITY to earn votes and think of US as a whole, and the need to do "THINGS" in a proper way for our children and grand children.

    Let us begin to "OWN" our Weather Radar Systems and stop relying, with OUR BEGGING BOWLS TO OTHERS.

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  5. So why they didnt make use of the radar systems used to track boats traveling between Lucia and vincy and Lucia and Martinque ??? Or is it that they can only be used to track drugs and our general safety is secondary?? These guys get some fat salaries to stay on the ball, some heads should rolll, but then again this is Lucia where we are happy so nothing will come of this

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  6. Saint Lucians, let us be realistic and objective here. First and foremost, the weather forecast DID indicate chances of thunderstorms and persons in low lying areas were asked to exercise caution. The fact is that this kind of message has been given on several occasions, many times we don't pay attention...this time being no exception. Would the warning have prevented us from flooding the supermarkets and stores buying RUM and CLOTHES for DE DAYBREAK FETES for Christmas? I'm sure the answer is NO. And if nothing happened after the warnings we would be blaming NEMO for putting people on alert unnecessarily. Truth is, WE would blame NEMO no matter the outcome, SO DAMNED IF THEY DIDN'T INFORM US, AND MORE DAMNED IF THEY DID.

    Saint Lucians need to become more vigilant to the reality of CLIMATE CHANGE and GLOBAL WARMING, primarily characterized by SEA LEVEL RISE. How many of us truly understand what this means. Instead of spending hours on facebook, bbm and calling the talk shows 24/7, we should use this time to EDUCATE OURSELVES a little more about our changing climate.

    The bible says, He will come like a thief in the night...be prepared, for no one knows the day, nor the hour....and this, my fellow Saint Lucians, is EXACTLY a perfect example of this message.

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  7. i leave n martinique and tonight martinique just said nemo aint saying the truth,cause we were under alert!!!!!!!!!!!!!!Nemo eh blame nobody take the blame

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  8. Even without any warning I realised something was not right.I stayed home and it's a good thing I listened to my instincts. All the signs were there. None stop lighting and thunder and rain. Nemo we have to do things differently, so we can stop depending on Martinique when it comes to the weather.

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  9. Excuses! Excuses! Excuses from NEMO and The Met Office. This is unacceptable. I bet you no one gets fired or reprimanded for this incident. Typical attitude at all government agencies.

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  10. If ever so often we have floodings and people lose their house and personal belonings,even lives, maybe they can consider moving to higher grounds.The government can help with some self contained units. Also coude main. The gov't can examine the infrastructure, and take steps to make it more sound. We cannot change the past, but definitely the future.

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  11. From my understanding, a weather report regarding that was made via the media, indicating caution to flood prone areas. Come to think of it, who would expect a surface trough to be so intense and more so at this time of the year, clearly out of the hurricane season. Come to think of it, how many persons take these warning seriously(and yes the warning is deserving not withstanding, no doubt).
    I just don't think the title for this article is in place, cause it doesn't represent the full content of the article, only a paragraph.
    Guys for peace sake, let's not start pointing fingers. I am terribly saddened by what has happened as with many of you but we cannot control all the circumstances, only God can. The worst sadly is yet to come!
    My dad said to me today concerning the tragedy, "Reminds me of how Jesus said his coming will be."

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  12. Ma tae la! WASCO??? Wait, no mention of WASCO? Water is no longer life? WASCO no longer needs money? Or is it only when they want an increase?

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  13. I totally agree with all the statements here. Martinique knew about this weather long before us.Many lucians got family or friends who can attest to that.This radar thing is poor excuse cause they( NEMO or MET office)can get their info elsewhere. the excuse that the weather pattern changes quickly is neither applicable. WE ARE LIVING IN THE ERA OF TECHNOLOGY AND INFO. You can get anything via the internet even WEATHER INFORMATION. This was purely human error

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  14. And "saddened" I'm sure like you other people listen to the weather news and still not freaking take heed. Nemo could have sent 100 messages if something worse came along during that time we would still look to blame them

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    • Point taken. I get my weather advisories directly from Martinique and don't depend on NEMO or the met office in St.Lucia. However, it's people like you who allow St. Lucia to remain in this miserable state. Like I said before, I don't blame NEMO for the weather. But they have to take responsibility for not doing the job that they are employed to do. I took heed and stayed home Christmas eve. The bigger issue is that we all need to change our attitudes about the environment.

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  15. Gosh everyone just shut ur asses. Yes Martinique is our only freaking choice St.Lucia is not the only country depending on Martinique radar and I'm sure there's a geographically logical reason y we are still depending on Martinique. I'm tired of my ignorant people. Some of you take the government damn sponsorship for education and never freaking come back then complain about our structure , if outside help is employed we have a freaking problem. People have lost their freaking lives due to mother nature not through nemo . Stop looking for someone to blame and take damn responsiblity. Stop dropping freaking garbage everywhere , stop cutting all the damn trees near freaking river banks and collecting the blasted sand for our freaking personal use . And it is the Mets office job to inform of such weather information . Nemo is there to manage disasters before and after . If we want to help so much lets get our asses off , go volunteering or study freaking weather technology chooooops

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    • It is unfortunate that so much destruction happened to our beautiful island. Except for your profanity which you expressed and I know it is because you are angry, I agree with most of your thoughts.

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  16. Of course our own Radar systems at airports was not working either? What a load of bullshit. Bet you nobody gets fired for this lapse. Another typical govt not-fit-for-purpose tax payer leaching pile of crap.

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  17. I think the Met Office should take equal blame. Why the hell do we even have a Met Office in St.Lucia if they cannot warn us about that type of weather? They should be the ones to inform NEMO and the rest of the nation. At one time individuals used to rely on the weather channel and Miami for their own weather report.We were urged to rely only on official word from St.Lucia Met Office...well now we have been let down...I will go back to monitoring the weather for myself on the weather Channel and weather underground...smdh!!

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  18. This is saddening that NEMO can't just admit to their failure once again. NEMO can't be blamed for the weather but they can be blamed for their actions. How were they unable to warn St.Lucia because they didn't get information from Martinique, yet Martinique was placed on Orange alert from the 23rd? St.Lucians need to stop accepting this type of foolishness. I pray that one day we will be respected enough as a people to be treated as people.

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  19. utter nonsense which is unacceptable . id rather they admitted they were on their asses sleeping and fetting ......... that excuse is ludicrous so then the other islands were aware but not st lucia ... nonsense ....

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  20. Poor excuse NEMO. Waiting on Martinique? Is that the only island with radar equipment. From early tuesday morning til noon rising river levels were major signs that torrents were building up in the hills. NEMO agents were not monitoring those critical indicators. That with the trough system info NEMO had and the fact that from past weeks of rain should tell NEMO our soils already over saturated would not hold any more water again. NEMO should have moved into full precautionary mode and advised the government to shut down the country.

    NEMO has no clout. Why? The government and buuisness commuity would have shot down that suggestion. Well we see the consequences

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  21. This it totally in correct. The weather reports from the night of the 23rd gave warnings of possible flooding in the next 24 hours. Bad reporting once more by the media and also disappointed in NEMO.

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  22. NEMO!!! Your equipment was compromised? You depending on Martinique system!!! What the hell is this about? When are we going to move away from this "third world mindset?" I am sick and tired of this crap!!!! I remember the days when many business places were being burglarized and their survellance systems were non functional, this is many many moons ago and we learnt from that! Why after so much lost of life and property after TOMAS we are being given such a lousy excuse!!! How could something as serious as our people's safety is being left to chance? there are no back up systems in place to protect our people? NEMO please explain to the families who lost their love ones why your equipment has been non functional and for how long it has been down!! Was it even functional during the hurricane season which only ended 24 days from this last storm? I am sick to the bone. NEMO keeps on being in a "reactive mode" rather than "proactive!" which really shouldn't have been after our experience with TOMAS. You are using my tax and other tax payers money to do a job, why are you continuously failing us?

    We are not in the north americas and asia where we would be exposed to tsunamis, tornados and many variations of natural disasters, we are exposed primarily to storms, this is all NEMO needs to be focusing on for the better part and yet they fail at doing their jobs. In my opinion we should not wait for another disaster, this current squad of persons at NEMO needs to GO!!!!!

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    • amen Yolo you've embodied everything I wanted to comment here ....not like this destruction could have been avoided but atleast for the org to be proactive and give people an urgency as to what was happening at the time

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  23. that's buulshit because the authorities in martinique did warn their people about the system. ok, so their system was down what happen to barbados or st vincent. total shate...

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