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St.Croix Recovering From a Deluge of Rain

Sept. 16, 2004 – King Cross Street in Christiansted looked more like a shallow stream than a street at noon on Thursday, but V.I. officials at a press conference gave a positive picture of St. Croix's recovery from a heavy deluge of rain the night before.
Lt. Gov. Vargrave Richards gave an overview of the government's response to the weather and then turned it over to representatives of the various departments to give detailed reports.
Richards said that more than 10 government teams were out assessing damage after 10 to 12 inches of rain quickly fell on the island. He said most downed trees and limbs had been removed from main arteries, but there was the possibility of more falling because the soil had become so saturated.
He said there was flooding in the Mon Bijou area but it was nothing like the problem "three or four months ago."
Cassandra Dunn, corporate communications officer for the Water and Power Authority, gave an update on WAPA's efforts to get power back to all residents. She said all the main feeder lines were functioning and now there were just isolated instances where transformers were down. She mentioned William's Delight, Carambola, Anna's Hope and Sion Farm as still having problems.
She said everyone was working. "Our non-essential workers have become essential workers." Even the staff answering phone calls from customers had been expanded.
According to Dunn, St. Croix has six crews working in problem areas and two crews were coming from St. Thomas to help.
Robert Morehead, assistant commissioner of the Public Works Department, said the debris that had blocked the flow of water in Mon Bijou and caused flooding was now removed. He said, "The gut is now flowing." He added, however, that water had gotten into homes causing damage.
Talking about the sewer system on St. Croix, he said, "Our life has been made miserable by all this rain."
He said rainwater had infiltrated the sewage system causing it to be overloaded. The Anguilla landfill was closed as of 11 a.m. Morehead urged residents to take "green debris" to the centrally located bin sites. He said emergency DPW workers would help residents dispose of it.
Anne L. Thurland, division director of the Health Promotion and Disease Prevention of the Health Department, had words of caution for residents. She said, "If you have any doubt whether food is good or not, throw it out." She also said that the rain and accompanying sitting water would contribute to more mosquitoes. She asked resident to take preventive measures to keep from being bitten. She also said because of the sewage overflow, parents should not allow their children to play in puddles.
Elroy D. Harrison, deputy director of the V. I. Territorial Emergency Management Agency, said his office could be used by any government agency that has lost access to office equipment such as faxes.
In other news concerning government workers, Richards said that government paychecks would be mailed out on time. He also asked school principals to go to their schools to assist emergency teams in accessing damage to the schools. He added that some teams had run into problems accessing damage at schools because no principal was there.
Alice Wise, government liaison for the Red Cross, said one shelter had been open on Wednesday, but no one used it. She added, "The shelters are stocked and workers are on call, if we need them."
Deputy Chief Herminio Velazquez said the V.I. Police Department was operating as usual except that the Strand Street post in Christiansted had to be moved temporarily to Lorraine because of flooding.
He also mentioned that one of two inmates who escaped from the Golden Grove Correctional Facility on Wednesday night had been apprehended. Captured was Julio Garcia. Police are still looking for Jason Stevens. Velazquez had no further details about the escape or capture.
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