Photo: A man on St.Kitts cleans up after hurricane Irma (Photo credit: Facebook-/Nema Skn)

By: Precious Mills

BASSETERRE, St. Kitts– “It should be noted that so far, apart from insurance claims approved by CCRIF [Caribbean Catastrophe Risk Insurance Facility] of US $2.29 million, we are faced to carry this burden of recovery alone.”

So said Prime Minister and Minister of Finance Dr. Timothy Harris in his an address to the nation on Saturday 23rd September following hurricane Maria as he disclosed that the recent storm, coupled with hurricane Irma, puts the preliminary estimates on public sector damage in St.Kitts-Nevis to more than EC $140 million.

The Federation was spared a direct hit from the two category 5 hurricanes in the space of two weeks- Tuesday 5th September and Tuesday 19th September. Notably, many citizens and residents are puzzled at the lump sum figures in damages since St.Kitts-Nevis did not sustain disastrous impact unlike other islands of the Caribbean region.

“Preliminary estimates put damage to the federal public sector at around EC $38.5 million and counting. That on Nevis has been put by the Nevis Island Administration (NIA) at EC $50 million for a total preliminary assessment of EC $88.5 million in Public sector damages as a consequence of Hurricane Maria. The Public sector received damages then of over $140 million (preliminary estimates) as a consequence of the two hurricanes,” Dr. Harris informed in his national speech.

He gave details of the early reports on hurricane Maria.

“The preliminary damage assessment reports for St. Kitts and Nevis are currently being finalized post-Hurricane Maria. Public sector infrastructure suffered significant damages. Some critical infrastructure such as our electricity and waters services, our road network at Old Road, our fisheries complex and the Irish Town Bay Road, the agricultural sector, our coastline and environment sustained serious damages. Our sporting facilities at Challengers and the Kim Collins Stadium also sustained damages. The Housing stock also suffered, as did several schools.”