MAY PEN, Clarendon — Several Clarendon residents waited for the last minute to make preparations for the arrival of Hurricane Sandy.
Most of the activities revolved around the southern end of the parish, particularly in Portland Cottage and Rocky Point, which is normally vulnerable to tropical storms.
According to chairman of the Clarendon Parish Council, Scean Barnswell, five shelters were opened across the parish with the Bustamante High School in Lionel Town and the Alley Primary School being among the busiest.
"Persons have been at the Alley Primary School since last (Tuesday) night because they are fire victims and didn't have anywhere to stay; so we have distributed food, bedding and other supplies to them," Barnswell said.
He added: "So far only Alley and Bustamante have persons, but we are anticipating more persons at the other shelters (Rest Primary, Milk River Primary and Portland Cottage Primary) throughout the day.
"What we have done is to put a truck from the Pan Caribbean Sugar Company on standby to move people to higher ground, so we are appealing to persons who live in low lying areas to heed the warning, because we don't want to lose any life."
More than 50 persons had so far reported to the Bustamante High School, where Shelter Manager David Dixon said food supply is their main concern.
"We got some supplies, like blankets and sleeping cots, from the Clarendon Parish Council, so as soon as the registration process is up and running we will be contacting them to let them know how much food is needed," Dixon said.
Carroll Forbes, shelter manager at the Portland Cottage Primary, said while many people were reluctant to leave their homes, they were making the necessary arrangements to accommodate as many residents as possible.
Meanwhile, fishers at the nearby Rocky Point Fishing Village were taking nothing for granted as they made last-minute preparations to secure their boats and other valuables.
"Right now we deh yah a prepare and watch the weather because we see seh it a come," one fisherman told the Jamaica Observer. "We a move out the engine dem go up a we yaad because we a tek this one real serious."