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'An act of God' floods Clarendon community

Published:Tuesday | July 7, 2015 | 12:00 AM
A resident of Rocky Point, Clarendon, rides through a flooded street last Friday.

CLIMATE CHANGE as a result of global warming is being blamed for the unusual weather conditions affecting the southern-most part of the island and Clarendon in particular. Several communities and areas surrounding the Rocky Point fishing village have been experiencing flood-like conditions as a result of extremely windy conditions and high tides.

The tide is said to be highest at night, so it comes further inland, flooding out the areas closest to the sea.

On Monday, Luther Buchanan, state minister in the Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries; Scean Barnswell, mayor of May Pen; Winston Maragh, councillor for the Rocky Point division; and other stakeholders toured the fishing beach to get a first-hand look at the situation.

Based on his preliminary assessment, Buchanan said there are no short-term solutions to the challenges being faced by the residents and fisherfolk as what is happening is "an act of God".

He said: "The impact of this situation is evident that climate change is at work and the fisherfolk need to take note of the weather patterns, coupled with their experiences, and develop climate-smart strategies so that they will be able to navigate the present situation as well as a possible recurrence in the future."


Going forward, the minister said he would have to meet with the technical personnel in the ministry to see how best to deal with the situation.

Barnswell, chairman of the Parish Disaster and Safety Committee, said the only known occurrence of such a situation was approximately 50 years ago. He said a public-education drive is to be implemented to get persons, and in particular fisherfolk, to become aware of such instances and the measures that should be taken in such eventualities.

Last Friday, residents woke up to flooded yards and streets and had to remove their shoes and walk in the water to get in and out of their homes or business places.

The residents have complained that businesses has been severely affected by the bizarre weather conditions as the strong winds and high tide have prevented fisherfolk from carrying out any major fishing activity over the last six weeks. They say they are scared and worried as their livelihood is being threatened by this unusual natural disaster.

Shearer Heights, Portland Cottage, Jackson Bay, and sections of Rocky Point communities have been affected.