Caribbean clean up begins following Hurricane Tomas

A state of emergency has been declared across the Caribbean island of St Lucia following the impact of Hurricane Tomas.

As many as 14 people are feared dead following the hurricane, with a further seven declared missing.

Tomas swept the island on Tuesday bringing heavy flooding and landslides, prompting a major cleanup operation designed to repair the damage before the winter sun tourist season beings.

The island’s tourism officials issued a statement stating Tomas had “packed sustained winds and heavy rain, which resulted in fallen trees, infrastructural damage to buildings, damage to major roads consequentially restricting access to various areas, and temporary loss of utility services across the island”.

The neighbouring island of St Vincent was also hit by the Category 1 storm, with dozens of homes losing roofs and more than 1,000 people forced to seek emergency shelter as the islands lost power.

Tomas is currently weakened, forecasters expect it to gather momentum again with Jamaica and Haiti, devastated by an earthquake in January, its next potential targets.

Hurricane Tomas is moving toward Jamaica

Hurricane Watch

Forecasters expect the storm to gather momentum over the next two days as it heads for Jamaica and Haiti.

A Hurricane watch remains in effect across Jamaica, with the storm presently graded as a tropical depression.

The system is expected to re-strengthen today and tomorrow, with potentially hurricane conditions posing a threat to the island within 48 hours.