Portland in a state of readiness
Despite the many challenges, including a shortage of financial resources, Disaster Coordina-tor for Portland, Denise Lewis, has declared emphatically that the parish is in a state of readiness for the hurricane season.
Lewis, who spoke to The Gleaner from her office at the Portland Parish Council on Monday, said that the parish was vulnerable to a few hazards. But, she said, ongoing projects, including simulation exercises had assisted greatly in allowing emergency response teams to better deal with real-life disasters.
"We are well prepared as it relates to emergency response," commented Lewis.
"Our public education and transit walks, which take place year round, are another way of ensuring that we are ready for emergencies. Through a collaborated effort between the various emergency teams, we are at an advantage in dealing with any eventuality. The Parish Disaster Committee is 90 per cent ready. Our challenge is not manpower or equipment, but in the area of money," She added.
Among the communities listed as being vulnerable are those in the Rio Grande and Buff Bay Valley, Port Antonio, Breast Works, Boundbrook, Bryan's Bay, Anchovy, Folly, Manning Avenue, Saint Margaret's Bay, and sections of Hope Bay.
And councillor for the Port Antonio division, Dexter Rowland, told The Gleaner that ongoing drain-cleaning work throughout the various parish council divisions would help to minimise flooding.
According to Rowland, from as early as April, major drain cleaning had taken place in several flood-prone communities, and additional work would be done once funds were disbursed from the local government ministry.