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J'can hotel workers in North Carolina relocated as Hurricane Florence pounds US East Coast

Friday, September 14, 2018

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WASHINGTON DC, United States — Jamaican Ambassador to the United States Audrey P Marks says Jamaican authorities are working closely with state and hotel officials to ensure the safety of Jamaican guest workers on the US East Coast, where Hurricane Florence made landfall today.

Marks, in a statement this morning, said the embassy has been actively monitoring the situation, along with the officers of the Jamaica Central Labour Organisation (JCLO), who are said to be in constant contact with all of the guest workers, mainly in the hotel sector, in the areas under hurricane threat.

“Everything is being done to ensure these workers are safe,” Marks stressed, noting that liaison officer Debbie Hutchinson, who has responsibility for that area, is in constant contact with all of the workers and is monitoring the situation.

“Hutchinson has been getting updates which assure that so far, all workers are safe,” the statement added.

Marks further assured that: “Where any need arises for these workers to be relocated, it is being done”.

According to the statement, 101 workers will be relocating from OMNI Hilton Head in South Carolina to OMNI Champions Gate in Orlando, Florida.

“The JCLO liaison officer has also been in contact with the human resources director of OMNI Hilton Head, Dorothy Beeks, who would be accompanying the workers to Orlando. She also reported that all is well,” said the statement.

Meanwhile 60 workers from Sonesta Resort in South Carolina were identified for relocation to the Sonesta Hotel in Orlando, Florida but, according to the ambassador, the Governor of South Carolina has since recalled the evacuation order for the southern counties, causing Sonesta Resort to delay moving the workers to Orlando.

Marks said another 151 workers at Sea Island in Georgia are in preparation mode if an evacuation order is issued, although the property is no longer in the path of danger.
While 97 workers at Kingston Plantation Hotel in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, were relocated to the North Myrtle Beach High School, and are presently being accommodated in the hallways.

It has been reported that catastrophic flooding is expected in Myrtle Beach and in the north eastern part of South Carolina.

About 1.7 million people in North Carolina, South Carolina and Virginia are under voluntary or mandatory evacuation orders and millions of others live in areas likely to be affected by the storm.

A state of emergency has been declared in five coastal states —North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, Maryland and Virginia.

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