Jamaica: ONR assessing hurricane damage

KINGSTON (JIS), Tuesday, July 12, 2005 - Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the Office of National Reconstruction (ONR), Danville Walker, has disclosed that the ONR was currently conducting an assessment exercise to ascertain the extent of the damage caused by Hurricane Dennis on July 7.

While on a tour of Manchioneal, Portland on July 8, Mr. Walker told JIS News that he had already observed significant road damage in the eastern section of the island.

He noted that by 11 Miles in Bull Bay, major sections of the road have been removed by water. He also noted that the Yallahs Fording now has a 30 to 40 foot drop between the edge of the road and the water below.

Mr. Walker pointed out that so far, he had not seen a lot of damage to houses. "I don't see the type of damage I saw after Hurricane Ivan last year," he said, but added that a full assessment of the situation would shed further light on the true state of the damage.

On a somewhat positive note, the CEO said that he still saw a number of banana trees up in that section of the island, a far different situation when all the trees were blown down during Hurricane Ivan.

With regard to the plight of residents in Portland Cottage in Clarendon, Mr. Walker told JIS News that a team had been dispatched to the area on the morning of July 8, to assess the situation. He added that the drains in the area had been cleared in preparation for the passage of Hurricane Dennis.

Giving an update on the housing solutions for those residents who suffered severe losses during Hurricane Ivan, Mr. Walker said, "we're just going to keep pressing full steam ahead to get those houses built, so that those people are out of harm's way".