News

New Haven haunted by old problems as rainy season sets in

‘A forgotten community’

BY KIMMO MATTHEWS Observer staff reporter matthewsk@jmaicaobserver.com

Friday, May 23, 2014    

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THE onset of the rainy season is the cause for much worry among the residents of flood-prone New Haven, St Andrew.

What makes it even more difficult for the residents, is that the problems are not new, but a script that has been repeated year after year stretching to at least 20 years.

On Tuesday, a heavy downpour transformed the community into a large pond, forcing people to move around the sometimes knee-high flood waters in makeshift boats. The root of the problem again.... poorly-maintained drains.

"The situation has reached a stage where this is how we have to move around in the community whenever it rains," said an irate Sheldon Green as he and other residents talked among themselves while standing in the floodwaters.

"The flooding in the community has worsened; we have our children, the elderly, they are all at risk. We need the authorities to come clean the drains," said Green, as he pointed to a drain where large trees had taken root.

Dujon Fortella, another resident, feared that the flooding could lead to loss of life if the situation is not addressed.

"The rainy season is not fully here and the problem is like this. Can you imagine when the persistent rains start?" Fortella asked.

Ricky Johnson said that like other residents, he felt neglected.

"We feel like this is a forgotten community," Johnson declared.

On Monday, it cost those residents who did not wish to get their feet wet $20 to be transported between points in the community in the shell of an old refrigerator.

"We see the need, so that is what we doing, trying to provide assistance to those in need," said Marshall Brown, who 'piloted' the makeshift boat.

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