Jamaica: Emergency shelters in Clarendon closed

MAY PEN (JIS), Thursday, July 14, 2005 - The 13 emergency shelters, which were opened in Clarendon as a response to the threat of Hurricane Dennis, are now closed.

Rohan Blake, Acting Parish Disaster Coordinator at the Clarendon Parish Council told JIS News that the 520 persons, who were housed in the facilities, have returned to their homes.

He attributed the quick return to normality to the "proactive approach we are trying to take as a Parish Disaster Committee in terms of quick evacuation, rescue operations and streamlining our activities so that our residents are better served. I believe that this has contributed to them returning home quickly."

Mr. Blake pointed out, that while there were some cases of flooding, landslides and erosion of roadways, the damage to the parish was not significant, especially when compared to Hurricane Ivan.

He indicated that the Parish Disaster Committee would meet next week "to discuss how best we can correct some of these problems that have taken place."

Meanwhile, Lloyd Cameron, Clarendon's Parish Manager at the National Works Agency (NWA) said that four major roads were damaged during the hurricane, two of which have since reopened while the other two remain closed.

The closed roads are Nine Turns to Ritches and Cupius to Beckford Krall in North Clarendon, while temporary repairs have been carried out on the approach to the Alley Bridge and the May Pen to Soursop Turn Road to facilitate their use.

In addition some of the drains in the May Pen to Soursop Turn areas have been cleared.

According to Mr. Cameron, the NWA is seeking a long-term solution to repairing the two roads, which are closed.

In the meantime, Noel Kennedy, Water Production Manager at the National Water Commission (NWC), has told JIS News, that damage to water systems have been minimal.

According to Mr. Kennedy, the community of Newground in Summer Field is without water due to a washed out pipeline, while the pumps at Lowground in Suttons, Piece River in Victoria and the Thompson Town area, were down due to electrical problems.

Mr. Kennedy said however, that water was being trucked to the affected areas, and assured the problems would be corrected by Friday (July 15).