Jamaica: Portland's emergency operations centre assessing damage

News and Press Release
Originally published
PORT ANTONIO (JIS), Tuesday, July 12, 2005 - A comprehensive assessment is being made of the damage caused by Hurricane Dennis in Portland, by the Emergency Operations Centre in the parish, to ensure that recovery measures are implemented as quickly and effectively as possible.

Deputy Mayor of Port Antonio, Councillor Rupert Kelly said the Centre was working closely with a number of agencies and organizations in the parish to accurately assess the situation to determine the level of assistance needed by affected persons, and the extent of infrastructure damage.

The Deputy Mayor was chairing a meeting of the Portland Disaster Committee in Port Antonio on July 8. Representatives of a number of government and non-governmental organizations in the parish, including the Ministry of Labour and Social Security, the Portland Poor Relief Department, the National Water Commission (NWC), the Portland Health Department, the Jamaica Red Cross and the Portland Parish Council, attended the meeting.

Mr. Kelly also told the meeting that both the National Works Agency and the Portland Parish Council were currently in the process of assessing infrastructural damage in the communities, so that corrective measures can be effected.

Addressing the meeting, Manager of the Portland Office of the Ministry of Labour and Social Security, Gloria Clarke, said a team of Welfare Officers from that office had been dispatched to a number of areas to make a preliminary assessment of the damage done and the needs of affected persons.

She noted that the team would be working closely with other organizations, including the Salvation Army, the Jamaica Red Cross and the Adventist Development and Relief Agency, and that the report would be presented to the Emergency Operations Centre for further action.

Also addressing the meeting was Lorenzo Humes, Public Health Inspector at the Portland Health Department, who pointed out that the department was currently in the process of examining the effects of the hurricane on all three health districts in the parish, to ensure that health risks are kept at a minimum, as well as to determine the public health needs of the affected communities.

Richard Williams, Customer Relations Manager of the NWC, reported that there was no major damage to the Commission's water supply systems.

He noted however, that a number of systems were currently down because of turbidity or disruption in the power supply, adding that affected communities included Windsor Castle, Hope Bay, Kensington, Buff Bay and sections of Port Antonio.

Mr. Williams said the NWC was working assiduously to restore supply to those areas as soon as the turbidity problem is addressed and electricity is restored.