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HomeNewsArchivesHurricane Put 47 Boats Underwater on St. Croix

Hurricane Put 47 Boats Underwater on St. Croix

Oct. 22, 2008 — Hurricane Omar sank or submerged 47 vessels on St. Croix, according to the latest update on hurricane cleanup efforts from the V.I. government.
Of the 47, a total of 33 are in the Christiansted harbor, 11 near the St. Croix Yacht Club, one in the vicinity of Cotton Valley and two near Salt River, according to a Government House report.
A few boat owners have hired a contractor, who is slated to remove five of the downed vessels in the harbor by Thursday. The government is looking into possible cleanup efforts of its own.
"As of now, we are looking at perhaps storing these vessels on a plot of open land near the Anguilla landfill," said Carlos Farchette, enforcement director for the Department of Planning and Natural Resources (DPNR). But the government will have to resolve liability and legal questions before such a cleanup, he said.
Temporary booms have been deployed near the vessel-removal efforts to contain any contaminants that may spill into the water. Two of the damaged vessels now resting on the Christiansted boardwalk were the primary residences of their owners. The Red Cross has provided them with temporary assistance, according to the Government House report.
The report also addressed the school situation, indicating that power was finally restored to John H. Woodson Junior High School on Wednesday. Classes at Woodson will resume Thursday. Power restoration "took a bit longer than anticipated due to some significant damage around the school," the report said.
Power-restoration efforts continue elsewhere on St. Croix, as well. V.I. Water and Power Authority (WAPA) crews continued to address small areas that remain without power because of "blown transformers and line damage," the report said.
"Significant restoration work was completed today in the areas of Catherine's Rest and Constitution Hill," said WAPA Executive Director Hugo Hodge Jr. on Wednesday.
A lot of progress was also made Wednesday planting replacement utility poles on the stretch of roadway that leads to a transfer switch near the Divi Resort, he said..
"As more and more of the pocket areas are restored, the crews are being reassigned to the restoration of power effort on the east and west end of St. Croix," Hodge said.
An announced plan to replace a two-week food-stamp allotment is pending approval in Washington, D.C., according to the report. The allotment will only apply to people receiving food stamps before the hurricane hit.
"If and when the federal declaration is granted, public assistance will be made available but it is not certain, at this time, whether individual assistance under which the food stamp program assistance falls, will be granted to the Virgin Islands," said Mark Walters, director of the V.I. Territorial Emergency Management Agency (VITEMA).
Added Gov. John deJongh Jr., "We will put forward the applications that are necessary for territory-wide assistance once we have secured a federal declaration for the Virgin Islands from Washington."
The V.I. Waste Management Authority reported that its four bin sites on St. Croix are functional and receiving hurricane-related debris. WMA is seeking assistance from WAPA in restoring power to the scale house and security lights at the Anguilla landfill to ensure continued operations there, the report said.
According to the governor, priorities will continue to be electrical restoration, road clearing of hurricane debris, debris removal from the various communities across St. Croix and the cleanup of the marine environment, specifically the removal of sunken or submerged vessels "which now dot the waters of St. Croix."
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