Crabs invade St Thomas beach - Residents worried about mosquitoes

May 30, 2016
Ricardo Makyn/Staff Photographer A fisherman looks at some crabs that climbed a wall inside a hut on the seaside.
Ricardo Makyn/Staff Photographer A fisherman steps close to one of the few remaining crabs
Contributed The many crabs which invaded the seaside at Rocky Point in St Thomas

There is an old saying among some persons in St Thomas that the sudden appearance of creatures such as ants and crabs is an ominous warning from nature to prepare for unfavourable weather conditions.

"Anytime people used to see them, them say a breeze and rain a come," said fisherman James Thomas.

But sections of the parish were already under water last week when crabs, called Mumbi by the local people, invaded the Rocky Point beach, and left everyone startled. "The amount weh did deh yah all when a 10 four wheeler (trucks), that nah move them," said Thomas.

Residents theorised that flood waters drove the crabs out of their habitat in the nearby mangroves, forcing them to squat on the beach for two days. Early last week, St Thomas was drenched by rainfall which resulted in flooding. Three children were also washed away because of the heavy rainfall and flooding, one of whom was found dead.

Been difficult

Thomas, 61, who has lived in Rocky Point since childhood, said he was not afraid of the small, hairy legs, inedible crabs that nip at people who attempt to step on the beach. However, he said it has been difficult for fishermen to get to their boats which are docked on the sea coast. "Them a try bite we when we go fi set up the boat, them nah go run from you," Thomas explained.

Now that the crabs have retreated to the mangroves, the residents have their beach back. But there is great worry that the rains which washed them out of their homes could leave them with mosquito-borne diseases. "Rain mean more and more mosquito fi we, which is not good wid the ZikV a go roun," the fisherman explained.

St Thomas was the first parish affected by Chikungunya in 2014, and the parish has already recorded a case of Zika. Thomas told THE STAR he fears that mosquitoes could cause severe worries unless the health authorities quickly take the fight to the bloodsucking monsters.

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