Edmond Campbell, Senior Staff Reporter
PRIME MINISTER Portia Simpson Miller has cut short an official five-day visit to Canada and is now back in the island as Tropical Storm Sandy races towards Jamaica and could make a direct hit as a hurricane later today.
Simpson Miller's return to the island comes three days after she left the country on invitation from Stephen Harper, the Canadian prime minister.
The prime minister and her Canadian counterpart were expected to hold bilateral talks on a range of issues including trade, investment and development.
With Sandy taking aim at the island, the Office of Disaster Preparedness and Emergency Management (ODPEM) has issued mandatory evacuation orders for at-risk communities situated in low-lying areas of the country.
In a release late yesterday, ODPEM said it has issued a "mandatory evacuation order for all persons in coastal and low-lying areas based on the hurricane warning now in effect for Jamaica issued by the Meteorological Service".
According to the disaster preparedness agency, the evacuation order is specifically for those areas with a high frequency of impact.
Dr Peter Phillips, acting prime minister, in a statement to the House of Representatives yesterday cautioned that the low-lying areas of the country were expected to feel the brunt of the tropical storm or hurricane.
At the same time, Minister of National Security Peter Bunting has issued curfew orders for selected areas effective 6 p.m. yesterday.
Meanwhile, Dr Phillips explained that the curfew orders would remain in effect until tomorrow morning. Only persons who work in the emergency services will be allowed access in and out of the areas under curfew.
He told fellow lawmakers that 150 shelters have been identified across the country.
Mandatory evacuation areas
Kingston and St Andrew
Hope River Valley to include Kintyre, Tavern; and Bull Bay to include Taylor Lands, Weise Road, Cane River Pen and Caribbean Terrace
Alley and Portland Cottage
Nightingale Grove and sections of Lauriston closer to the Rio Cobre, Thompson Pen, Dam Head, Fairview, St John's Road, Frazer's Content and Hellshire Fishing Beach.
For information on Tropical Storm Sandy:
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