ST CATHERINE, Jamaica – With the 2023 Atlantic Hurricane Season now underway, many people living in flood-prone areas may start to feel a sense of unease.
The OBSERVER ONLINE visited the Bull Bay community in St Andrew, an area known for flooding, to ascertain what the residents are doing to protect themselves and their families this Hurricane season.
Vernon Phipps, a long-standing resident, is taking a more optimistic approach to the Hurricane season. The 57-year-old revealed that he is not afraid of water.
“Yes, I’m not doing anything. I’m just doing the usual because I’m not afraid of it [water]. No, I'm not afraid of water. I’m used to the two gullies as I’ve been here for years and I see how the water runs,” he said.
"If the water escapes and comes down the road, we will rest a couple of sandbags, so that it doesn’t come in. But when the rain falls, a lot of these places are filled with water. I don’t really know how it is since the highway. So, we have to just watch and see,” Phipps told the OBSERVER ONLINE.
With the construction on the roadway in Seven Miles, Bull Bay as part of the South Coast Highway, Phipps said he is anticipating more water flooding the streets this year.
Another resident, Michael Fogoe, who has lived in the Beechwood area for over 17 years, stated that he worries every hurricane season. He added that he has suffered hundreds of thousands in damages.
“At this time we have to fret because we have to find bags full of sand and put them at our doorway to block the water from forcing the door open and washing out our house,” a worried Forgoe said, adding that his home has been flooded three times.
He noted that he is not taking any chances this year and has been preparing by gathering sandbags and Hurricane traps to secure his windows.
Trecia Bruce, a resident of over 20 years, expressed that living in Bull Bay near a gully is terrible. She explained that the gully is not cleaned regularly, causing it to overflow.
“We as a community each time head over the bridge and try to take away as much debris that some of the water can go underneath,” she noted.
She suggested that the Government should spearhead regular cleaning for the gully.
In 2021, following a disastrous flood in the community, Prime Minister Andrew Holness said it will cost $1 billion to fix the community’s flooding problem.