Mon | May 22, 2017

River bank residents hoping for the best

Published:Friday | June 12, 2015 | 6:00 AMTamara Bailey

Porus, Manchester:

More than a week has passed since the start of the hurricane season, deemed inactive by the Meteorological Service of Jamaica. While some may take it lightly, other citizens living in flood-prone areas are hoping for the best.

In the community of Porus is a small district called Red Berry, but it has taken on the name 'River Bottom' due to its tendency to flood whenever it rains heavily.

"We don't really have any rivers in Manchester, but below where I am (live) is a stream and when it rains heavily over a few days, everywhere over here flood out and we have to leave," expressed Stanley Myrie.

Though the stream has dried up and has been dormant for approximately 13 years, Myrie and his neighbours believe it can burst from underground at any time.

"The last time we had a great flood was in 2002 - the stream break out and come over due to a 10-day rainy period. The water was at least four feet high, it covered the roadway, the houses full a water and it even broke through one house," stated Sharona Turner.

She continued, "We had to evacuate ..., during any hurricane season you can take refuge at the community centre, the basic school and the primary school, but for two years we had to pay rent at a house in another area, until the water dried up. That's how bad it was ... ."

But what if there is a recurrence?

"We know it can happen again and if it does, we'll just have to move. What else can we do? The last time it was hard. We lost some valuables; we had to leave our homes to pay rent, and we didn't receive any assistance. It was just us on our own ... . We just have to pray to God to keep us if there is another flood," stated Myrie.

For Turner and Sharon Myrie, they would relocate entirely if it was possible.

"If we had the money, we would just move all together because even when the stream isn't a problem, the trench that the parish council made beside us is not properly maintained, and so, even a little rain can cause flooding, because there is nowhere for the water to run."