GSU aids post-hurricane St. Lucia, more needed

When Hurricane Tomas ravaged St. Lucia a few weeks ago, 14 people died and others went missing. Tomas’ effects were felt by more than just the island’s residents. At Grambling State University, many international students were concerned about the status of their families and homes during post-Tomas chaos.

“I was in a frenzy searching for anyone who would be able to help or … provide some type of feedback on the situation,” said Miss Grambling State University Solagne Sayers, a native of St. Lucia.

“After learning what happened to our island, it became necessary to take immediate action,” said Sayers.

“Some parts of the island are completely cut off from others because of landslides and/or total loss of infrastructure.”

Sayers emphasized the connection between the international and American community at GSU.

“This connection cannot be severed,” she said.

That connection can translate to financial assistance as the country continues the rebuilding process.

“Students and residents from the community have been very generous in contributing to our fund-raising ventures,” said Senior Resident Assistant Nasha Smith, a mass communication major from St. Lucia.

“St. Lucia is still a long way from a full recovery,” Smith said.

“There are still persons unaccounted for, a desperate need for water and other basic necessities, not to mention those who are now homeless due to evacuations. Quite frankly, we are still in an emergency situation,” said Smith.

“We ask that our GSU family keep our island in your prayers,” Sayers said.

Damage estimates on the island exceed $40 million, according to www.jamaicaobserver.com.

GSU has been helpful to the St. Lucian community. The university established a call center to help students make contact with their loved ones.

Donation spots were established during the homecoming talent show in the Assembly Center.

Sayers added that the Office of Institutional Advancement started a fund to accept donations for the island.

“There was not that level of urgency attributed to the Haitian crisis, especially on the part of school administration,” said Smith.