HC Deb 23 November 1938 vol 341 cc1760-1
Mr. Petherick (by Private Notice)

asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies whether he has any statement to make about the landslide which took place yesterday in the island of St. Lucia and caused heavy loss of life, and what action he proposes to take to help the sufferers?

Mr. M. MacDonald

I received yesterday a telegram from the Governor in which he informed me that a landslide at Bar-de L'Isle, St. Lucia, occurred on Monday morning. It was estimated that about 50 people had been killed and 40 injured. The necessary relief organisation was immediately established. Thirty-two bodies had been recovered, of which 12 had been identified. Also two of the injured died in hospital on Monday night. The condition of the remainder injured in hospital, about 20 in number, was satisfactory. Unfortunately the work of recovering the bodies had to be suspended on Monday night owing to a further landslide, but work was resumed later.

I have informed the Governor of the great regret with which I have learnt of this disaster, and asked him for his views on the question of the material assistance which may be required for the sufferers. I am sure the House will wish to express their sympathy with the relatives and friends of those who have been killed, and their good wishes to the injured for a complete recovery.

Mr. Petherick

While thanking my right hon. Friend for his prompt action in this matter, may I ask him whether he will bear foremost in his mind in relation to the victims in this disaster, that they are British subjects with us under the Crown, and that they have a claim on our sympathy at least as great as, and on our practical aid greater than, those foreign subjects whose unhappy fate has recently been exercising the attention of His Majesty's Government?

Mr. Riley

Is the Minister prepared to consider making a financial grant for the relief of the sufferers at St. Lucia?

Mr. MacDonald

I cannot commit myself definitely until I have received a report from the Governor.