Sat | Dec 5, 2020

Weise Road residents cleaning up mounds of debris dumped by swollen river

Published:Monday | October 26, 2020 | 10:11 PM
Residents of Nine Miles, Bull Bay, walk along Weise Road where the Chalky River overflowed its banks on Sunday October 25, 2020 - Gladstone Taylor photo

Jonielle Daley/Gleaner Writer

Residents of Weise Road in Bull Bay, St Andrew are cleaning up mounds of debris dumped by the Chalky River, which overflowed its banks around 7:30 p.m. Sunday night as the outer bands of Tropical Storm Zeta left devastation in its wake.

On Monday, homeowners in Nine Miles were a canvass of grief but mounted sandbags to staunch the flow of water that had swamped their yards as the river gushed under the doors of houses. 

Fitzgerald Benjamin told The Gleaner that the river had not breached its banks since 1981.

Benjamin said that he was shocked by the magnitude of water caused by the sustained showers, which occasionally morphed into powerful squalls.

The riverbed was totally engorged by silt, causing the river to burst its banks and change course. 

After the landslide that claimed the lives of Sanique and Romeo Leechman in Shooters Hill last Friday, St Andrew East Rural Member of Parliament Juliet Holness urged residents in the vicinity of the river to evacuate to the St Benedict's Primary School approximately two miles away. 

However, Benjamin, who is caring for his 87-year-old mother and 80-year-old mother-in-law, said he will not be retreating to the evacuation centre, even if the flooding worsens, out of concern that the elderly women might fall victim to the coronavirus.

Benjamin carried both women on his back late Sunday night to a house further down the road that was less affected by flooding. 

Until early Monday afternoon, the Chalky River continued its course down Weise Road.

Some residents lay blame at the feet of government authorities for failing to maintain the river. They said the silt needs to be regularly removed from the bed for the river to stay on course. 

Crewmen contracted by the Kingston and St Andrew Municipal Corporation were seen in Nine Miles this morning removing silt from the riverbed.

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