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At Least 8 Die In Heavy Rains And Landslides On The Island Of St Vincent

Flooding and landslides caused by heavy rains have killed at least eight people on the eastern Caribbean island of St. Vincent, officials said Wednesday.

The government's National Emergency Management Organization said one of those who died was an 18-year-old college student. One man was reported missing.

Among the eight killed was a cousin of Prime Minister Ralph Gonsalves, Cassian Gonsalves, who died Tuesday night when a landslide crashed through his house, Cassian cousin Mark Boyea told The Associated Press.

The devastation prompted the prime minister to cut short a family vacation that had taken him to England and Rome, and he was due to return home Thursday. Photos posted by the Vatican showed that Gonsalves had met with Pope Francis.

In the heavily hit area of North Leeward in northwestern St. Vincent, a family of five was killed when a house was swept into their home. About 60 people showed up at a school converted into a shelter. Nicole Bonadies-Baker from the Education Ministry said she expected more people to seek refuge there, where they would receive counseling.

There was extensive flooding and damage elsewhere in the eastern part of the Caribbean. Police on the nearby island of St. Lucia said a man died there when a wall fell on him.

Traditional Christmas Eve midnight religious services were cancelled and several churches in the capital of Castries opened their doors to stranded people.

"It's the worst Christmas I will ever spend," said Jude Francis, his clothes soaked from the rain.

St. Lucia Prime Minister Kenny Anthony described the damage as an emergency and a major setback for the country. "I don't think I can recall when we have had such heavy rainfall on the eve of Christmas," he said.

On the nearby island of Dominica, dozens of homes and at least two hotels were evacuated because of the danger of landslides and several roads were blocked by mud.

The cluster of thunderstorms came as the small islands were crowded with holiday tourists. Showers were expected to linger over the British Virgin Islands, Puerto Rico and the Dominican Republic throughout Wednesday.

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Comment by CobraFire on January 2, 2014 at 12:39pm

My prayers go out to the people of Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, the people of Saint Lucia, and the people of Dominica. We hope that the year 2014 brings you good tidings of joy with God's Blessings.

Comment by Deshawn Thomas on December 27, 2013 at 4:37pm
im very sorry terry hear about
your homeland of the island
st vincent today found out
this black caribbean women
talk on the social network
taggeds left me an message
Comment by Terry Batts Edwards on December 27, 2013 at 4:15pm

SVG my home land we luv u a million!! we rose from the ash of the volcano! again we "WILL RISE FROM THE FLOOD WATERS"

Comment by Deshawn Thomas on December 27, 2013 at 2:30pm
omg such real terrible disaster
taking place out in caribbean
st vincent an black sister from
the island of st vincent put me on
about bad flooding&landslide
heavy rains killed 8 people
eastern part caribbean island
st vincent officials wednesday
Comment by J-ROCK on December 27, 2013 at 12:57am
Bless up and stay Strong...#Vincymassive
Comment by AfricanGoddess on December 26, 2013 at 2:12pm
Stay strong St Vincent!
Comment by Ruff de Gehto Travler on December 26, 2013 at 9:20am
My prayers goes out !!! Lawd

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