We have done all that's humanly possible, says Port Maria mayor
Livern Barrett, Senior Gleaner Writer
ANNOTTO BAY, St Mary:
With hurricane Matthew creeping closer to the island, the Mayor of Port Maria, Levan Freeman has declared that the local authorities are ready to deal with 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 Monday afternoon.
Matthew, a powerful category four hurricane, is expected to pass close to Jamaica's eastern coast later today.
However, Freeman said already a number of precautionary measures have been put in place to minimise the impact of the storm.
He says these measures are being coordinated from the emergency operations centre set up at the St Mary Parish Council.
SEE: #HurricaneMatthew incident map here: http://bit.do/MatthewIncidentMap
One area of concern, according to the Mayor, is the amount of potable water available 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 (NWA) has equipment strategically placed across the parish to clear roadways if the parish is heavily hit.
Responding to complaints by police personnel in Annotto Bay that they lack critical equipment to operate in a disaster, the Mayor said that was not brought to his attention.
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 alone the sea shore.