Jamaica struggles to recover
KINGSTON – Schools and businesses were re-opening today as life was slowly returning to normal after rains and floods associated with the passage of Tropical Storm Nicole left at least six people dead and many others missing.
The Bruce Golding administration has hinted that it would seek overseas assistance to deal with the damages estimated at millions of dollars.
State officials were meeting here today to discuss the matter of assistance with representatives of several donor countries and multi-lateral agencies.
Information Minister Dayrl Vaz said an assessment of the damage will be presented to the meeting.
“We will be meeting at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to sensitise them to the preliminary estimates and to make them aware of the difficulties . . . based on our own constraints here locally we have to seek assistance for sure,” he said.
He said that the full extent of the damage and loss of life caused by the three days of heavy rains associated with the storm would not be known until probably later this week.
The police have recovered the body of a woman from the sea, while the body of a homeless man had been found under a culvert at Riverside Drive, Havendale in St Andrew.
Rescue officials said they were still searching for 12 persons, including four children, swept away during the floods and they fear that the death toll would rise.
Schools in some areas were re-opening on Friday after consultation with the Office of Disaster Preparedness and Emergency Management.
But the authorities were warning that schools located in areas hardest hit and where unstable conditions persist, “a thorough evaluation should be undertaken to determine whether normal operations can be restored.
“Parents are also reminded to assess the situation to ensure their children can commute safely to and from school,” a statement said.
The Jamaica Public Service Company Ltd (JPS) said it is continuing its efforts to restore power to customers. Company officials said that at least 10 000 customers were without electricity yesterday.
“JPS estimates that most of the affected customers will have their power restored by late this evening, but confirms that some customers will still be without power at the end of the day due to challenges faced in the restoration process. These include: downed poles and inaccessibility caused by blocked roads, landslides and waterlogged areas.”
Meanwhile, director of Emergency Disaster Management and Special Services in the Ministry of Health, Dr Marion Bullock Ducasse, has said that the island’s emergency response capabilities sector remains operational and fully able to respond to the emergencies.
More than 400 persons were still at the 27 shelters across the country. (CMC)