Grenada and Campus Post-Ivan Progress Report

Hurricane Ivan dramatically changed life in Grenada overnight, yet there is an eagerness and determination among Grenadians to rebuild, restore and reclaim the contours of pre-storm life. Throughout the island, businesses, families, schools, churches, and communities have begun the arduous process of restoration. Visitors to the island are deeply affected by the damage done by Ivan, but their first observations are that there is a strong sense of purpose to rebuild this beautiful island and that the spirits of the Grenadian people remain high.

CAMPUS
The University staff, faculty and administration welcomed almost 300 returning Arts & Sciences, premedical/preveterinary, and Masters of Public Health students on to the True Blue campus September 28th and October 4th.

There was no structural damage to the buildings or to the infrastructure on the campus according to the assessors and insurance companies who examined the campus post-Ivan. There were lots of displaced roof tiles and broken windows which caused water damage to parts of the campus.

The campus is overun with workers who are clearing roof tiles, repairing subroofs, replacing roof tiles and windows, and continuing the process of cleaning up

Staff members have resumed their duties at the University. In addition to their regular duties, they are helping with the clean-up and restoration and some are helping with relief efforts on the island.

Housing: Over 50% of the dormitory rooms are habitable and are being used to accommodate Arts & Sciences and Graduate students as well as relief workers and foreign electricity workers, who are assisting with the reconstruction of Grenada’s infrastructure.

Communications: The infrastructure of the phone and fax lines is intact, and the lines are working, with a few disruptions to service. Mobile phones remain the most reliable means of communications. However, the phone service is getting demonstrably better each day. University personnel can be contacted via e-mail. The University can also be reached through its regular central telephone number: (473) 444-4175.

Water supply: The desalination plants are operational and the water supply on campus is adequate. The supply is occasionally disrupted due to testing and repairs on campus.

Power: The University’s 1.5 auxiliary generator has been supplemented by a 1.2 generator. This allows full power on campus, and it allows the University to provide power to the entire True Blue peninsula.

Library: The library is presently open to students from 8:00 a.m.-8:00 p.m. The library did not suffer much damage at all. Our computer labs continue to be available to the university community so that they can keep in touch with friends and family via the internet.

Safety: There have been no reported crimes on the campus and reported storm-related crime seems to have waned. Safety of the university community continues to be a priority for the administration. In addition to having our regular security, we are hosting military personnel from the Regional Security Services. The university has also tightened security at the point of entry and the point of exit of the university to help ensure the safety of all students, staff, faculty and other visitors to our campus.

ISLAND ENVIRONMENT

Although to a newcomer, the destruction seems dismaying, the progress that is made each week is astonishing. Roads have been cleared; stores and businesses are opening up, although not in continuous operation; houses are being repaired; and utilities are being restored. It is heartening to see fresh leaves on the trees, clean roadways and green foliage. It is a reminder of the ability of the environment and by extension, human beings to adapt and rejuvenate.

Transportation:

Air travel: The Point Salines International Airport resumed commercial operations from Monday, September 13, 2004. At the present time it is open for daily operations from 7:00 am to 5:00 pm.

Land travel: All main roads are passable and public transportation is now fully operational. The University buses have also resumed normal operations.

Power: The Grenada Electricity Company, ably assisted by regional and international organizations, is working tirelessly to restore power to the island. Already, power has been restored to the hospital, to the streets within the town of St. George and some homes where the power lines were not destroyed within the parish of St. George’s. The areas include Grand Anse, True Blue and L’ Anse Aux Epines. In some areas within the parishes of St. Andrew and St. Patrick, the power supply was never disrupted.

Water: Although a number of lines and mains were damaged or destroyed, service has been restored to the vast majority of communities and businesses throughout the island.

Communications: All telephone companies on the island are operational. Mobile phones are working and are for the time being, the main medium of communication. A number of land lines, including, some at the University, are also functional and Cable & Wireless crews have begun restoring other land lines.

Food Supplies: The Food Fair supermarkets located at the Grand Anse Shopping Centre and the Carenage, St. George’s are open for business between the hours of 10:00am and 3:00pm daily. Although a few items are in scarce supply, most food items can be purchased there.

Banking facilities: All commercial banks are open on a daily basis for a few posted hours. ATM machines are operational.

Medicine: Most over the counter and prescription medication can be obtained from the pharmacies which have also re-opened for few hours each day.

Security: The security situation is greatly improved from the period immediately following the storm. There is a very visible presence of personnel from the Regional Security Services. A 12 midnight – 5 a.m. curfew remains in effect.

Please see the related article on SGU/WINDREF relief efforts on the island.

October 28, 2004