Wednesday 17 October, 2018

VIDEO: U.S. Embassy Bridgetown issues health alert

Notice issued to the Embassy's website

Notice issued to the Embassy's website

A health alert for American citizens travelling to Barbados has been issued.

The alert was posted to the U.S. Embassy in Barbados, the Eastern Caribbean, and the OECS website yesterday, January 10, 2018.

The notice highlights the location of concern as the South Coast of Barbados between Hastings and St. Lawrence Gap.

The reason given was due “an overflow of raw sewage due to mechanical failure on the island’s south coast that is affecting the water quality at certain beaches between the Hastings and St. Lawrence gap areas.  Sewage has periodically bubbled up onto the streets, and there are reports that the overflow is reaching the beach areas.”

The U.S. Embassy Bridgetown called on its citizens on island to take certain precautions.

American citizens were advised to avoid water activities in the affected areas; beware of sewage on the streets. “If you come into contact with sewage, wash your hands, shoes, and any clothing that may have come into contact with the effluence,” and; “if you become seriously ill, seek medical attention.”

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On Tuesday, January 9, 2018, the Government of Canada issued a travel advisory under their Safety and Security umbrella for the same reason.

They stated:

'The South coast of Barbados, between Hastings and St. Lawrence areas is experiencing an overflow of raw sewage due to a mechanical breakdown. Avoid the affected area and follow the instructions of local authorities.'

Yesterday, officials from the Ministry of Health, Environment and Tourism were assiduously inspecting and running checks on the South Coast.

The Heads at the Barbados Water Authority met with the Barbados Hotel and Tourism Association (BHTA) Board and they finally gave a timeline of three months for the issue to be corrected. Previously, the General Manager of the BWA Keithroy Halliday was refusing to give a time due to unforeseen hiccups and challenges, which have been occurring while trying to mitigate and fix the problem.

On Tuesday night the water mains along the South Coast were switched off as part of the ongoing work.

Also, on Tuesday, the Ministry of Health in Barbados revealed that they are investigating 35 suspected cases of gastroenteritis on the South coast. However, as one tourist from Canada – Nicole Forbes, who has been visiting Barbados for some 40 years with 30-plus visits in that time said, “A lot of Canadians might have complained they’d gone with gastro, but I think a lot of people came to Barbados and they were already sick.”

 

 

Forbes was honoured at the Prime Minister’s reception for loyal visitors at Ilaro Court last evening, Wednesday night, January 10, 2018. She said the situation is sad though and needs to fixed with urgency. Her 92-year-old mother Madeleine Forbes is not with her on this visit, but she has been coming to Barbados for some 45 years.