250 households cry for aid as floods lash St Mary
PORT MARIA, St Mary:
St Mary Central Member of Parliament Dr Moras Guy has appealed for state support after three days of torrential rainfall caused devastation across the northern parish.
Neighbouring St Ann was also hit by flooding, especially in Runaway Bay, with the police station yard, the Jewel hotel lobby, and the Carl Rattray Staff College under water.
Approximately 250 households in the St Mary capital, Port Maria, were impacted by wide-scale flooding that damaged furniture and electronics, Guy told The Gleaner on Tuesday.
The immediate needs of the worst-affected residents, he said, are food, bedding, and sanitiser. Guy said he had already reached out to Prime Minister Andrew Holness outlining the difficulties faced by residents, some of whom are in dire need of bedding and other emergency supplies..
“The water has subsided and basically we are trying to clean up now. People are trying to put their lives back in order,” said Guy.
He said he expected the labour and local government ministries to lead aid efforts for flood-hit households.
The Frontier area and Port Maria housing scheme were adversely affected.
The inclement weather also dealt a serious blow to basic infrastructure, which saw at least four communities in St Mary being without electrical power and one in Portland. Some communities are also without water as a result of turbidity.
Media and public relations manager at the Jamaica Public Service Company, Audrey Williams, told The Gleaner on Tuesday during a telephone interview that the communities of Lighthouse, Berry Hill, Jackson district, and Hazard in St Mary were without electricity, while Windsor Forest in Portland was also without power.
“Workmen are out in the various parishes. Those areas are impacted by the inclement weather conditions,” she said.
“I don’t have the specifics for each parish as this time, but our work crews are out in the parishes, although the rain is still falling. We will restore [power] as soon as it is safe to do so,” she added.
And communications manager of the National Water Commission, Andrew Canon, said that a number of the systems were affected.
Among the water-treatment plants affected by turbidity in St Mary were White River, Pottinger Spring, Lucky Hill, Pembroke Hall, Palmetto Grove, Rock Spring, and Martha Hall. Those affected in Portland included Mount Pleasant, Hope Bay, Windsor Forest, and Haining.
Port Maria Mayor Richard Creary said that a lot of mud has been left behind as a result of the inundation of Port Maria’s main thoroughfare. Commercial entities were directly impacted.
“We had a situation where canoes were being used to transport people from one point to the other, and there were other persons that were seen aboard jet skis along the streets of Port Maria, which was transformed into a lake, at least for a period,” said Creary.
Flooding also affected Sandside, Jack’s River, and Oracabessa.