|Satellite photo: Hurricane Emily, 18 July|
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By Sabine Dolan
NEW YORK, 18 July 2005 - Hurricane season has begun in the Caribbean. Grenada was struck last week by Hurricane Emily, which inflicted heavy damage along the island’s North-eastern coast - in particular, the two Northern parishes of St Andrews and St Patrick’s, and the outlining islands of Carriacou and Petite Martinique.
UNICEF was quick to respond to the disaster. Medical supplies, collapsible water containers and oral rehydration salts, among the emergency materials sent to the island, thirty six hours after the hurricane struck. Most of the damage affected the agricultural sector. Homes and buildings were also destroyed by the strong winds and flooding.
To this day, the country is still recovering from last year’s hurricane season. Ten months ago, Hurricane Ivan, devastated the island’s entire infrastructure – schools, housing and crops – were wiped out by the storm.
"Last year, we had Hurricane Ivan, which passed through Grenada and destroyed the economy, destroyed the schools, [and] the infrastructure,” says Jean Gough, UNICEF Representative for Barbados and the Eastern Caribbean, who is presently in Grenada assessing the needs of children.
As hurricanes go, Emily was relatively mild when it passed through Grenada, however it made already difficult situation worse.
“The country is still in a process of recovery, they're still trying to rebuild some of the schools. They're just started to replant,” says Ms. Gough. “So now with the passage of this hurricane, although it just a category one, the impact was high, because the country is still recovering."
UNICEF is focusing its efforts on getting children back to school in September and intensifying psycho-social programmes for those affected by hurricane.
"We will be working with the Ministry of Education to ensure that when September comes, children will go back to school. If they don't that would be a big issue for us."
As Hurricane Emily continues to wreck havoc in the region, UNICEF is coordinating its relief efforts to assist other affected countries.