Jamaica a mess in wake of Sandy

At least one person died as a result of Hurricane Sandy striking Jamaica full on Wednesday. Police said the resident of Bedward Gardens in eastern St Andrew was killed after a boulder rolled on to a house.

Wednesday night, as the Category 1 hurricane made its exit from the island, Stephen Shaw, manager of communications and customer service at the National Works Agency, said it is too early to determine the extent to which the country’s infrastructure has been affected.

“We would have got significant damage in some areas it would appear,” Mr. Shaw told The Gleaner.

For more than 24 hours, rain associated with Sandy covered the country with some residents being forced to move into the emergency shelters.

Some residents in flood-prone areas heeded the advice of the authorities and moved into the emergency shelters, but many ignored the warnings leaving themselves at risk.


Homes threatened

One such instance was in Sandy Bay, St Andrew, where residents stayed away from the basic school which was opened as a shelter, even though their houses on the banks of the Sandy Gully were clearly at risk.

In New Haven, St Andrew, state officials, led by Kingston Mayor Angela Brown Burke, attempted emergency drain cleaning as flood waters threatened several houses.

“This clean-up good but it is unfortunate that the authorities only come when the rain come,” declared one young man who was among a group circling the community to see if there were any residents in need of assistance.

“We call them several times when it dry to show them that two of the three drains which carry the water to the Duhaney River is blocked, but they did not come until now that it is raining,” added the young man.


Roadways littered

Several roadways in Portland were heavily littered with tree branches, breadfruit, avocados, coconuts, June plums and sour oranges.

Data from the National Meteoro-logical Centre at the Norman Manley International Airport said the eye of the hurricane made landfall on the southeastern coast of the country approximately 2 p.m.

Last night, the Jamaica Public Service Company said approximately 70 per cent of its customer base lost power as a result of Sandy’s passage.

The severe weather conditions, which include strong winds and heavy rainfall, have resulted in downed poles and lines, particularly in the parishes of Portland, St Mary, St Ann, St Thomas, St James, Westmoreland and Hanover.

The Office of Disaster Preparedness and Emergency Management yesterday said over 1,000 persons were in 67 shelters across the island.


Airports re-open

At Norman Manley airport, airline, ground handling, law enforcement, concessionaires and other relevant airport workers were asked to report for duty at 6am or at the time directed by their respective companies, to facilitate the timely opening to the public on Thursday.

The airport was due to re-open at 10am Thursday.

Travellers are advised to make direct contact with their respective airlines to obtain up to date information on arriving and departing flights, before making their way to the airport.

Departing passengers should make provisions for any traffic delays caused by the passage of Hurricane Sandy, as they travel to the airport.

The Sangster International Airport in Montego Bay re-opened at 7am Thursday.

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