Flood woes - Man feared drowned

Major damage to roads following heavy rain

BY NADINE WILSON Observer staff reporter wilsonn@jamaicaobserver.com

Monday, June 06, 2011

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HEAVY rainfall brought on by a low-pressure system over the past two days has resulted in the suspected drowning of a man in Nine Miles, Bull Bay in St Andrew, and has caused further damage to the island’s road network.

According to the Office of Disaster Preparedness and Emergency Management (OPDEM), reports received from the Police Control are that two men were trapped by flood waters at the Bob Marley Beach in Bull Bay while travelling in a fishing boat. One was rescued and taken to hospital, but the other is suspected to have drowned.

Flood waters also left Hordley Crossing in Eastern St Thomas impassable. The crossing which connects St Thomas and Portland left motorists with no clear alternative route.

A tour of sections of the Corporate Area yesterday saw people bracing themselves for what weather forecasters have predicted will be an active hurricane season. Residents living along the ill-fated Sandy Park Gully in Liguanea, St Andrew, said that they stayed up all night Saturday watching as the water levels in the gully rose. Last September, the gully claimed the lives of six people after their two-storey house was washed away by torrential rain brought on by Tropical Storm Nicole.

"We don't really have the flooding, but we are watching in case of anything," said Marian Seally who has been living along the gully bank for the past 34 years.

A section of the house that Seally occupies with her sister and nieces and nephews was also swept away by flood waters last year, but she said that they had nowhere else to go. Fearing for her life, her family constructed a makeshift retaining wall along the gully bank three weeks ago, which they hope will ward off flood waters.

"We have to help ourselves. We can't really sit down and wait on government," she said.

In the usually flood-prone New Haven community in St Andrew, residents said that they were not adversely affected by the most recent bout of showers. They were, however, upset about a broken main in their community which they said has left them without running water for the past two weeks.

A resident who identified himself as Christopher, said that representatives of the National Water Commission had visited the area last Thursday, but were not able to fix the broken main because they didn't have a backhoe.

"We don't have no water, we have to go like to Riverton to get water," he said.

Residents living in Lakes Pen in St Catherine and surrounding communities, say that they too were without water because of a fresh breaking away of the roadway along Garbally and Shannon Drive in the Dunbeholden area, which resulted in damage to the water pipes.

The residents have been clamouring for the roadway to be fixed since it was partly damaged by the passing of Tropical Storm Nicole last September.

"All the light post them soon gone. We soon won't have any light either. They need to do something about it (the road)," said Tanesha McQueen, who expressed concern for her daughter who has to travel along the roadway to go to school.

But while some were concerned about the damage to their property, several children and adults were seen in the Sandy Bay Gully removing scrap metals that were washed down by the heavy showers. Residents of Riverton City were seen utilising makeshift ladders to go into the gully to collect scrap metals.

Meanwhile, the National Meteorological Service has issued a Flash Flood Warning for low-lying and flood prone areas of St Mary, Portland, St Thomas, St Catherine, Clarendon, Kingston and St Andrew. The public is advised to continue monitoring the radio for further advisories and to avoid areas that are at risk from flooding and landslides.





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