On edge!

On edge!

Sleepless night for Gordon Town residents amid land slippages, more rain

BY KIMONE FRANCIS
Senior staff reporter
francisk@jamaicaobserver.com

Monday, November 09, 2020

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RESIDENTS in Gordon Town, St Andrew, are on edge following a series of land slippages in the community yesterday after heavy rains associated with Tropical Storm Eta's outer bands lashed the island, damaging houses, thoroughfares, and downing power lines.

Several residents who spoke to the Jamaica Observer yesterday said that they would be having a sleepless night as they braced for further impact from the storm that has cut off the main road into the community.

A bar operator, who gave her name as Maureen, noted that several families have left the community, while others are being housed by neighbours, after landslides severely impacted their houses.

According to the businesswoman, anxiety among residents is at an all-time high as the soil becomes more saturated following a third-straight weekend of rain islandwide.

“With the rain coming and coming and coming, we can't comfortable. I have a bar, and right now most of the residents are here because they can't sleep in dem house tonight. Some have to move out gone leave the community, and some staying with other people,” the woman said.

“They have landslide at the front of their house and landslide at the back. So they can't take any chance sleeping in there. One set of family living in front of me here have to move to a different part of the house just in case the land over them give way. Everybody is on edge,” she explained.

She said residents are worried.

“Me, personally, not affected, but none of us going to our beds tonight. We just have to stay up and watch to see what going on, in case anything else happen and we need to run guh help somebody. We have to be alert and ready to help,” Maureen said.

She described some of the residents impacted as hard-working people, who, despite their efforts, have been unable to “buy a decent piece a land”.

As a result, she said several end up building in areas that are compromised.

“Some of them live here long time and them just finish building; some don't even finish and this disaster come happen to them. Oh, God, man, dem work hard fi years and finally start build and just gone right back to nothing,” she lamented.

Another resident, who identified himself as George, told the Observer that the landslides were “bound to happen”.

He said, aside from the persistent downpour that has loosened the soil, “inexperienced” residents continue to build on unstable land.

“This nuh surprise mi. A lot of these people don't have any experience but dem building. Dem nuh have nuh experience but they do what they want to do, then disaster take them. I can't tell how much people affected, but inna my area is about two or three of them affected,” he said.

Another resident, who gave his name as Leyton, said that he and others in the community are having it “rough”.

The middle-aged man told the Observer that he is afraid of what may come if the rains continue.

“Mi have a landslide near mi right now, so mi haffi just a watch. Mi can't sleep tonight, mi just haffi go watch and watch and watch. Right now mi just uneasy bad.

“Is long time mi nuh see so much rain, so right now the earth soften up and yuh see the result. I a see leak weh I never know I have or ever see before, too. So right now we just have it rough, trust mi,” he said.

The National Works Agency (NWA) yesterday said that several roads across the island continue to be impacted by Tropical Storm Eta.

It advised that several roads were impassable as a result of landslides and flooding, while others had been reduced to single-lane traffic.

It said among the major corridors that were impassable are Bog Walk Gorge in St Catherine; the corridor from Spalding to Cave Valley in Clarendon; and Gordon Town Road in St Andrew.

Gordon Town Road, which has been impacted by recurring landslides, will remain impassable until it is safe to undertake the clearance exercise.


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