Jamaica: 250 persons in shelters in St. James, Hanover and Westmoreland

MONTEGO BAY (JIS), Monday, July 11, 2005 - More than 250 persons are now occupying emergency shelters in the parishes of St. James, Hanover and Westmoreland, some as a precautionary measure, while others are as a direct result of flooding caused by the passage of Hurricane Dennis yesterday (July 6).

Although not receiving a direct hit from the hurricane, several low lying areas within the western parishes were flooded, causing several persons to abandon their homes and seek alternate accommodation.

Of approximately 80 emergency shelters identified in St. James, 12 of them are now occupied by 135 persons; in Hanover, of 48 registered shelters, nine are housing 122 persons, while only three of the 75 shelters identified in the parish of Westmoreland are officially opened with 24 persons occupying them.

According to the St. James Disaster Preparedness Co-ordinator, Olga Headley, the centres opened are Vaughnsfield SDA church, 24 persons; Niagara Primary School, 17 persons; Granville All-age School, three persons; Sudbury All- age School, nine persons; Farm Primary School, two persons; Albion Primary and Junior High School, 25 persons; Granville Primary School, 30 persons; Flankers All-age, 9 persons; Cold Spring SDA, one person; and Johns Hall All-age, 15 persons.

She added that the Maldon High and Flamstead All-age Schools were also opened as shelters, with some persons occupying them.

In Hanover, Acting Disaster Preparedness Co-ordinator, Desmond Dorman told JIS News that there were 48 registered shelters in the parish, nine of which had to be opened to assist persons.

"They are Cacoon Castle All-age School with three persons; Chigwell Primary, 12; Clifton All-age, eight; Friendship All-age, six; Green Island Primary, three; Montpellier Basic, 20; Pell River Basic, 29; Pondside All-age 35; and Senior Primary, six," she noted.

Mr. Dorman said that Hillsbrook All-age had four persons, but they have returned to their homes.

"At this time we have no reports of blocked roads, but teams from the disaster preparedness committee in the parish are still out on the roads doing checks," he said.

Disaster Preparedness Co-ordinator for Westmoreland, Hilma Tate, told JIS news that persons in the parish seemed to have experienced not much inconvenience, as only three of its 75 identified shelters were opened to accommodate 38 persons, 14 of whom have subsequently returned home.

She said that the shelters opened were Little London Primary accommodating six persons; Frome Technical High School, 22 persons; and that the 14 persons who were housed at the Godfrey Stewart High School have returned home.

"The latest is that we have been having more consistent rains today and little wind, but no roads are blocked, no flooding and no reported problems in Westmoreland," Miss Tate told JIS News.

With the rains continuing in all three parishes, the Co-ordinators have appealed to persons to exercise caution in flood prone areas.