Category 1 hurricane sweeps across island
Hurricane Sandy barrelled into Jamaica yesterday and left hours later with damage estimated at several billion dollars in its wake.
At least one person died as a result of the hurricane. The police say the resident of Bedward Gardens in eastern St Andrew was killed after a boulder rolled on to a house.
Last night, as the Category 1 hurricane made its exit from the island, Stephen Shaw, manager of communications and customer service at the National Works Agency, said it is too early to determine the extent to which the country's infrastructure has been affected.
"We would have got significant damage in some areas it would appear, but the picture will become much clearer tomorrow (today)," Shaw told The Gleaner.
For more than 24 hours, rain associated with Sandy covered the country with some residents being forced to move into the emergency shelters.
Some residents in flood-prone areas heeded the advice of the authorities and moved into the emergency shelters, but many ignored the warnings leaving themselves at risk.
One such instance was in Sandy Bay, St Andrew, where residents stayed away from the basic school which was opened as a shelter, even though their houses on the banks of the Sandy Gully were clearly at risk.
In New Haven, St Andrew, state officials, led by Kingston Mayor Angela Brown Burke, attempted emergency drain cleaning as flood waters threatened several houses.
"This clean-up good but it is unfortunate that the authorities only come when the rain come," declared one young man who was among a group circling the community to see if there were any residents in need of assistance.
"We call them several times when it dry to show them that two of the three drains which carry the water to the Duhaney River is blocked, but they did not come until now that it is raining," added the young man.
Several roadways in Portland were heavily littered with tree branches, breadfruit, avocados, coconuts, June plums and sour oranges.
Data from the National Meteoro-logical Centre at the Norman Manley International Airport said the eye of the hurricane made landfall on the southeastern coast of the country approximately 2 p.m.
Last night, the Jamaica Public Service Company said approximately 70 per cent of its customer base lost power as a result of Sandy's passage.
The severe weather conditions, which include strong winds and heavy rainfall, have resulted in downed poles and lines, particularly in the parishes of Portland, St Mary, St Ann, St Thomas, St James, Westmoreland and Hanover.
The Office of Disaster Preparedness and Emergency Management yesterday said over 1,000 persons were in 67 shelters across the island.