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Guadeloupe suffers after passage of Tropical Storm Fiona

Categories: Caribbean, Guadeloupe, Citizen Media, Disaster, Environment, Politics

Image via paid Canva [1] elements.

On September 16, Tropical Storm Fiona [2], a product of the 2022 transatlantic hurricane season, had her sights set on the Caribbean’s northern leeward islands, with the French territory of Guadeloupe directly within her path. Tropical storm warnings and watches were in effect [3] for much of that region of the archipelago, from Dominica at the most southerly point to the Dominican Republic farther north.

The leeward islands [4] were affected [5] by Fiona from the night of September 16:

The storm’s projected path [11] will see the Dominican Republic feeling her effects by September 18. Thus far, she has maintained speeds of 85 km (50 miles) per hour.

As Fiona’s centre approached Guadeloupe, the island experienced [12] heavy rainfall and damage from the resulting flooding. Several social media users expressed shock at the extent of the damage, which included property and roadways. The Goyave river also broke its banks and the bridge was swept away in the powerful waters:

I am shocked…there used to be a bridge there…all through my childhood, all my life, my daily life…I must be dreaming […]

One Twitter user said of her experience:

It’s been an hour and a half since I can no longer sleep. The wind is extremely violent. #Fiona is fierce. #Guadeloupe

This video certainly supported her claims; for many Guadeloupeans, the whole experience seemed like a bad dream [20]:

Damage to the island’s infrastructure has been described as “massive”:

At least one death has been reported [27] as a result of the storm, with other people reportedly missing [28].

Rainfall levels were intense, starting off [29] at between 40 and 100 mm per hour in the island’s south-west, and expected to increase to 150-250 mm.

With Guadeloupe being a French overseas territory, at least one Twitter user expressed frustration over the French media failing to give the situation as much coverage as it did to the death of Queen Elizabeth II:

Otherwise, we know that it is less important than the death of a monarch, but the compatriots who are suffering a hell of a blow at the moment, does that not affect you at all, French media?

Meanwhile, Gerald Darmanin, France’s Minister of the Interior, tweeted:

Thank you to all the staff, firefighters, state agents, mobilized in #Guadeloupe in difficult conditions. Significant resources are deployed. #Fiona

One Twitter user, amazed at the level of devastation the island experienced, simply said:

As Fiona continues along her path, Lizz Eckel, a resident of Anguilla, expressed — in a WhatsApp message — what many of the region’s citizens are feeling:

We were super-lucky it moved south […] So saddened for Guadeloupe. These systems r brutal.

Small Island Developing States like the Caribbean remain [41] on the front line of the climate crisis, even as the storms get worse from year to year and efforts to not exceed [42] a temperature increase of more than 1.5 degrees Celsius seem [43] unachievable.