Toronto emergency crew heading to St. Lucia

A Toronto emergency response unit is deploying three members and a mass of purification equipment to St. Lucia, after hurricane Tomas left the island nation decimated and without drinking water.

GlobalMedic staff was preparing to leave for St. Lucia on Saturday, with enough equipment to provide 1.5 million litres of clean drinking water a day.

For GlobalMedic member Lynton Popo, the trip goes beyond charity. The St. Lucia native abandoned vacation plans to go home and help restore his homeland.

“Usually I am very excited to be going down to St. Lucia. But on this occasion there is a little bit of trepidation not knowing what I’ll find down there and not looking forward to what I will see,” Popo told CTV News on Saturday.

Fourteen people were killed when Tomas struck St. Lucia as a Category 1 hurricane last week, decimating villages and knocking out the island’s primary water supply.

Popo, an Air Canada employee, said his family is fine. But many others are not as lucky.

“It is incumbent on all of us, especially Lucians who are living overseas, to help out,” Popo said.

GlobalMedic will be taking six purification units capable of providing 6,000 beneficiaries with clean drinking water, one million water purification tablets and 50,000 water purification sachets to provide 1.5 million litres of clean drinking water each day.

“Drinking water is kind of main thing for survival. We have taps, they have nothing right now after hurricane,” said paramedic Matt Brouwer, 21, who is heading on his first mission with the group.

GlobalMedic currently has water purification units in Pakistan and Haiti, where residents still recovering from the 2009 earthquake were also hit by Hurricane Tomas.

With a report from CTV Toronto’s Naomi Parness

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