Hurricane Lenny 1999

The hurricane demonstrated the vulnerability of the Small Island Developing States of the
Caribbean Community. While there were relatively small humanitarian needs emanating from this event, the damage to coastal infrastructure, coastal communities and businesses was significant. Physical damage estimates are in the $269 million range with Antigua- Barbuda, Dominica, Grenada and St. Lucia being the hardest hit islands. The infrastructure costs alone of Hurricane Lenny, the cost of bringing infrastructure back to its pre-disaster condition, and not counting loss of current production, has been estimated by CDERA at $6.6 million for St. Lucia. The total hurricane damage to Antigua and Barbuda is equivalent to 7.5 percent of estimated 1999 GDP. For Dominica, the damage was equal to 8.8 percent of GDP, for Grenada, 27.0 percent, and for St. Lucia, 1.1 percent. The West Coast of St. Lucia was also affected by the wave action of Lenny.
The hardest hit areas were the coastal areas of the town of Soufriere, the quarter/parish of Gros Islet
and the villages of Anse La Raye and Chiseul. Beach erosion was significant on the Northwest coast of the island with roads and pedestrian walkways that were close to the beaches washed away. The hardest hit town on the island was Soufriere. Portions of its waterfront had been inhabited by a fishing community as well as a community of squatters. The squatters constructed some 100 houses of poor construction standards and many of them were severely damaged. An additional 21 houses of concrete block were damaged as was the seawall. The adjacent road was destroyed. In addition, the rising floodwaters from a river that runs through the town added to its inundation. While this flooding is not just specific to Lenny, when this happens, it cuts off the hospital from the rest of the town.



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