PORT ANTONIO, Portland — Friday morning found Kevin White counting his losses but grateful that no one was hurt by the tree that fell on his shop on East Harbour Road in Port Antonio. He estimates that it will take him a quarter of a million to get back on his feet.
White said he was not at his place of business, Thursday, when the tree fell on the structure.
"I was at grave digging when I got a call that a tree dropped down on the shop and I came down," he told the Jamaica Observer Friday as the rain that had loosened the tree's root continued to fall.
He said residents have long been wary of the trees in an area they informally call Cemetery Road and had repeatedly made calls to the local authorities and power supply company to have the issue addressed. He theorised that the tree that hit his shop may have been affected by the recent 5.6-magnitude quake that had its epicentre in the parish.
"We know that the trees are dangerous because they hang over the power line. Maybe because of the earthquake the other day, the place shake up and the rain now cause all this. The ground get soft and the root [came] out," White mused.
He said the community was now forced to grapple with a blocked road and no electricity.
"It affects everybody. I am glad it nuh damage nobody. It may cost about $100,000 to buy material and fix up the shop and the fridge [may cost] about $150,000," he calculated.
There was also a fallen tree in a section of Red Hassle Road and Jones Lane in Port Antonio, leaving the route temporarily blocked on Friday before the fire department cleared the way. Meanwhile, the National Works Agency moved in Friday morning to remove another fallen tree that had interrupted traffic between Fellowship and Berrydale in the Rio Grande Valley.
"We had blockages near the Reach Falls entrance at Bar Hill [caused] by a fallen tree that was cleared by the Jamaica Fire Brigade allowing single-lane traffic. The National Works Agency cleared blocked roads, Berrydale had landslides and fallen trees [as did] the Nonsuch main road," Disaster Preparedness Officer Denese Lewis told the Observer.
"The National Works Agency was informed about blocked roads at Cascade and Wakefield in the Buff Bay Valley…We continue to monitor what is happening in the parish. We have 79 shelters that are open but not occupied," she added.
Usually flood-prone areas in Port Antonio such as Folly Road, West Palm Avenue near the CC Bakery and in the vicinity of the Jamaica Public Service at Boundbrook were not affected by the rains and by late afternoon, the rainfall had ceased in Port Antonio.
In Hayes, Clarendon, there was extensive flooding in a section of the Monymusk Country Estate Housing Scheme and sections of Portland Cottage has also reported flooding. Also Towers Gully in Savannah, Hayes overflowed the box culvert drainage system and cut off traffic for vehicles and pedestrians.
In addition, in the Moravia section of Spalding, bamboo came into contact with power lines and sparks flew during a brief fire on the lines in the community. It is unclear if there was a power outage and how many people were affected. JPS was notified; however, it is not clear if a team has been sent to the area.
In St Mary, commuters were inconvenienced for more than two hours by a landslide that blocked the Islington to Port Maria route. Taxi operators eventually used their hands to clear the way.