St Mary hospitals to receive water supplies
As Hurricane Matthew crept closer to the island yesterday, 240 people from St Mary had checked into the 21 shelters spread across the parish.
At the same time, mayor of Port Maria, Levan Freeman, declared that the local authorities were ready to deal with any potential disaster.
"What is humanly possible, we have tried to ensure that the lives and properties of the citizens of St Mary are protected," Freeman told The Gleaner yesterday afternoon.
Matthew, the powerful Category Four hurricane, was expected to pass close to Jamaica's eastern coast last night into this morning.
However, Freeman said already a number of precautionary measures had been put in place to minimise the impact of the storm.
He said these measures were being coordinated from the emergency operations centre set up at the St Mary Parish Council.
One area of concern, according to the mayor, are the water levels at the Port Maria and Annotto Bay hospitals.
"Port Maria has a 50 per cent capacity at the moment. Annotto Bay has 75 per cent, so instructions were given to personnel from the (National) Water Commission that adequate water should be given to both institutions to last three to five days," he said.
Freeman said the National Works Agency has equipment strategically placed across the parish to clear roadways if "we are heavily hit".
Responding to complaints by police personnel in Annotto Bay that they lack critical resources to operate in a disaster, the mayor said that was not brought to his attention.
"I'm aware of the vehicular challenge that they face," he acknowledged.
There has been intermittent rainfall in Annotto Bay, Port Maria, Boscobel, and other parts of St Mary since last night.
The rainfall triggered rising tides that flooded several homes in the informal communities of Dump Land, Purcell Lane, Port Arthur and Sand lanes, located along the shore.