Jamaica battered by heavy rain but spared the worst
Winston Hennie, a resident of New Haven in St Andrew, points to where water from a gully met the Dunhaney River, causing the river to overflow its banks and flood his community on Monday. (Photos: Joseph wellington)

SPORADIC and heavy rain associated with Hurricane Ian battered Jamaica on Monday, rendering numerous roads impassable, but despite this, many Jamaicans were grateful that the island was spared a direct hit.

The Office of Disaster Preparedness and Emergency Management (ODPEM) issued a statement Monday afternoon advising that the Bog Walk Gorge in St Catherine had to be closed due to flooding. ODPEM also reported that the Thatch Walk Bridge on the border of Clarendon and St Ann was impacted by rising river levels. The road at Pump House, Phase 3, in Longville Park, Clarendon, reportedly split in two. Downed utility poles were reported in Western Park, May Pen, also in Clarendon, leaving several communities, including Treadlight, without power.

The National Works Agency, meanwhile, issued advisories warning road users in St Elizabeth to be cautious as a result of collapsing culverts on the Lacovia to Vauxhall main road and the Vauxhall to Union main road in the vicinity of Raheem.

Marcus Garvey Drive in St Andrew, as expected, was also affected by flooding as the small drainage along that major thoroughfare was unable to carry the heavy flood water despite several promises to have the problem fixed.

A motorist powers through flood waters on Marcus Gavery Drive in St Andrew on Monday. (Photo: Joseph Wellington)

New Haven in St Andrew also experienced flooding in different parts of the community as a result of an overflowing Duhaney River. Residents told the Jamaica Observer that water from a gully that runs from Cooreville Gardens and Duhaney Park impeded the free flow of the river. Residents said they have been plagued by this problem for many years and called on the authorities to create a barrier to separate the river and the gully, but nothing has been done.

On Monday afternoon Winston Hennie, a resident of New Haven, said if the rain persists the community will be in trouble.

"We were showing the mayor, Delroy Williams, that we need a partition to prevent the river meeting up with the gully. Each time the gully comes down it backs up the river, and the river tek di streets and flood out the whole community. If the rain continues it is going to swell the river. Just imagine if we did get the real storm. We woulda drown," said Hennie.

A pedal cyclist tries to avoid flood waters in New Haven, St Andrew on Monday. (Photos: Joseph wellington)

In Yallahs Square, St Thomas, Freddie embraced the on and off showers.

"Mi glad seh the storm shift away from us. Mi glad seh nuh breeze never come fi mash up wi house. The little water weh come, the sea can tek care of it. The earth was in thirst for the little water weh fall," he said.

Another man, while awaiting a taxi in Yallahs, told the Observer that missing a direct hit from Ian was the best thing that could have happened to Jamaica.

"We cannot face a storm right now; we would gone way down inna di gutter, although we are down there already. The devastation would make it impossible for us to ever get back on our feet. In St Thomas the storm here would be very bad. You see, the road infrastructure we have here is very bad, and if the storm came it would be devastation," he said.

A motorcyclist tries to avoid getting his feet wet on Marcus Gavery Drive on Monday (Photos: Joseph wellington)
Plastic bottles, styrofoam containers and other debris are seen at Tinson Pen on Marcus Garvey Drive in St Andrew during heavy rain on Monday. (Photos: Joseph wellington)
Sandbags are used to protect the newly built Ruthven Towers in St Andrew from flooding on Monday. (Photo: Garfield Robinson)
BY JASON CROSS Observer staff reporter crossj@jamaicaobserver.com

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