Jamaica: Dennis damaged farms, houses, roads in Portland

PORT ANTONIO (JIS) - Monday, July 11, 2005: Heavy winds and torrential rains associated with Hurricane Dennis battered Portland yesterday (June 7) leaving damage to agriculture, housing and infrastructure in a number of communities.

Among the worst hit communities are Mill Bank in the Rio Grande Valley area and St. Margaret's Bay in Western Portland.

Reports are that a number of houses in Mill Bank have been badly damaged or lost due to landslides, while the Rio Grande Bridge, which links the eastern and western ends of the parish, has been severely damaged as a result of the inundation of the Rio Grande River.

Meanwhile, a total of 1,115 persons were housed in shelters up to Thursday afternoon. The number increased overnight as the rising waters continued to affect the parish presenting danger to persons living in low-lying and flood prone areas.

Portland's Disaster Coordinator, Faye Neufville, said that the Emergency Operation Centre was closely monitoring the situation in the parish. She told JIS News, that an emergency meeting would be held later today at the Portland Parish Council, at which time, an extensive report of the situation would be given.

Winston Palmer, National Works Agency (NWA) Superintendent for Portland, also informed that technical officers of the agency were examining the situation in the parish, in order to make a proper assessment of road damage.

In addition, Bradley Barrett, Superintendent of the Portland Parish Council, also told JIS that the Council was assessing the damage and gave the assurance that the Council would work closely with the NWA to address difficulties.