BRIDGETOWN, Barbados, Friday May 24, 2013 – Caribbean Community (CARICOM) governments have sent messages of empathy to the United States after a tornado killed more than 24 people including nine children in Oklahoma on Monday.
Antigua and Barbuda Prime Minister, Baldwin Spencer, who is in Doha, attending the 13th Session of the Doha Forum, sent a message to President Barrack Obama expressing condolences and indicating that “our prayers are with your government and the people of Oklahoma through this difficult period”.
Insurance companies estimate that the damage caused by the tornado could run into billions of dollars as the residents of Moore begin the task of burying their dead.
Jamaica’s Prime Minister Portia Simpson Miller also sent a letter to President Obama expressing “sorrow at the widespread destruction and tragic loss of lives in the state of Oklahoma.
“The news is particularly discomforting as reports indicate that the death toll could escalate, with a significant number of missing persons including children from two elementary schools. I am also concerned about the threat of additional tornado strikes and the possibility that other towns and cities remain at high risk.
“The Government and people of Jamaica join me in expressing profound condolences to the bereaved relatives and friends of the victims, as well as our deepest sympathy to those who have suffered injuries and been displaced as a result of this disaster,” she wrote.
Bahamas Foreign Minister Fred Mitchell in a statement said that the country is saddened at “the catastrophic damage caused” by the tornado, while Barbados Prime Minister Freundel Stuart told President Obama as Barbadians “watched in disbelief the trail of damage, destruction and death in the suburbs of Oklahoma City, caused by Monday’s tornado, we were graphically reminded of the frailty of man and the awesome power and forces of Mother Nature.
“In your hour of distress at this most difficult time, our hearts and prayers go out especially to the people of Oklahoma and the entire United States of America, as you grapple with this catastrophe and the incredible loss suffered.
“However, you should take comfort in the knowledge that the Almighty is still in control and our prayers are with you.
“As the horror of the tragedy remains etched in our minds, the Government and people of Barbados join me in extending sympathy at your loss, and stand ready to offer whatever assistance we can provide.”