By Theresa Goodwin
Twelve months ago today, Antigua experienced one of the most devasting floods in decades when torrential rains drenched the island, submerging roads, and flooding homes which left the nation facing a bill of more that EC $160 million.
More than 12 inches of rain was recorded by meteorological officials, and videos that made the rounds on social media showed water rushing through the streets of St John’s and rural communities, people having to abandon their cars in waist-high water; one even showed a child almost being swept away while walking with an adult.
The situation also placed into sharp focus the plight of the many families living in homes in “significant disrepair” as several people, including disabled residents who were already living in deplorable conditions, were displaced.
A year on, one of the main thoroughfares which links the south of the island to St John’s remains in despair forcing residents to use a bypass that had been created to maintain the flow of traffic.
The road in Cades Bay, another area in the south, is yet to be repaired.
Yesterday, the Director of the National Office of Disaster Services, Philmore Mullin, pointed to the pandemic and the challenges associated with it as a major issue that would have affected the recovery process at the major flood.
He said the pandemic has placed a major dent in government’s already limited coffers.
“We continue to do what we can with the resources available. Once the Covid situation is brought under control, activity will be maintained,” Mullin said.
He also said work is underway to repair and build drains to better deal with future challenges.
The government has also encountered challenges to fulfill the promise to repair the homes of the disabled due to financial constraints.
Mullin said some effort has been made to assist those most affected and the process is ongoing.