'Flood out!'

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'Flood out!'

Bull Bay residents picking up the pieces after floodwaters invade community

BY KIMONE FRANCIS
Senior staff reporter
francisk@jamaicaobserver.com

Monday, November 09, 2020

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DISTRAUGHT residents of Nine Miles, Bull Bay, in St Andrew, are blaming yesterday's widespread flooding of several houses in the community on substandard desilting work being done by men in the channels of the Chalky River.

Tropical Storm Eta, which formed in the central Caribbean last week, unleashed heavy showers on the island, triggering landslides in several communities and bringing severe flooding to others.

Residents who spoke to the Jamaica Observer yesterday said desilting work, which began approximately six days ago, was left incomplete, providing a channel into the community for raging waters from Chalky River.

“They burst one part of the banking and leave it, and now mek all of the people dem a Weise Road a suffer. Every house down a the bottom flood out; when mi tell yuh seh flood out, mi mean flood out! Yuh have all doctor live down there and her house flood right out. A dem come wid excavator come dig off the place and leave it. Forty-six years mi deh here and not even [Hurricane] Gilbert cause this,” a woman who gave her name as Nadine told the Observer yesterday.

“The community is a mess because of [stupidity]. Both PNP [People's National Party] and JLP [Jamaica Labour Party] love talk 'bout things cost billions. If dem did a do dem work by grinding the banks this wouldn't happen. Nobody [cares], until dem hear rain yuh see dem come out and do foolishness and cause people dem livelihood,” the woman fumed.

Residents waded through several feet of floodwaters which swept through the community yesterday as they assessed damage to their properties, vehicles, and the wider area.

Aaron, another resident who spoke to the Observer, also insisted that the river's banks were compromised by the workmen.

“The bank too thin. Dem never did a put enough dirt over one side fi strengthen it, so the grader weh dem a use clean it cut out a likkle part, and the force of the water come burst it. It just come take over and destroy everywhere. A chaos right now man, believe mi, cause a pure rain from last night man, straight through,” he explained, noting that the rain became heavy at approximately 10:00 am yesterday.

He said a few residents received injuries while attempting to vacate their houses as the floodwaters raged.

“First mi ever see something like this. The first, and mi born and grow a Bull Bay,” the man insisted.

Natalie Flyer told the Observer that she is yet to come to terms with what took place in her house and the wider community.

According to the resident, everything in her house is coated in mud, while several equipment and appliances have been destroyed.

“The gully burst pon wi. It take it bank and come in, lift up the car, and come in pon wi. It come in pon wi neighbour dem, too. Lots of people flood out. This is the first I'm seeing this and I live here two years now,” she said, while extending an invitation to the Observer to assess the damage done to her house.

“Everything mud up. Everything gone. Mi nuh have nothing ya now; clothes, boot, everything mash up,” she added.

Flyer's immediate neighbour, who gave her name as Princess, said she is puzzled as to her next move. She, however, acknowledged that she would have to relocate.

“Mi just have to find somewhere else go. The water going down now so I going to see what I can pick up that still might be good and try move, but right now it seems like everything gone. Not even clothes mi nuh have fi wear,” the distraught woman said.

The Meteorological Service of Jamaica yesterday said that the country should start seeing an improvement in weather conditions with a reduction in rainfall by tomorrow.

“A tropical wave could, however, bring more instability to the Central Caribbean by the end of the week,” the Met Service said.


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