JAMAICA – Four days of heavy rain does damage in Portland
KINGSTON –– The heavy rain which has pelted the parish of Portland over the last four days might have eased but the damage caused is just coming to light.
Landslides occasioned by the showers destroyed four houses in Millbank. A resident of Millbank, 63-year-old Owen Campbell, told Observer North and East that he was at home when he heard a loud bang on top of his four-bedroom house.
“When a hear di noise, mi call mi wife and wi run outside to some safety and quickly after that, di house bruk down,” Campbell recalled.
Another Millbank resident, farmer Hubert Palmer, had a similar experience.
“I was on the road at about 6:30 p.m. on Friday and when mi return home, ah si mi house on the ground. It was ruined by the heavy rain. A only the clothes pon mi back and mi slippers pon mi foot, mi have inna mi name now,” an obviously distraught Palmer related to this reporter.
Business establishments in a number of communities within the parish are reeling from the destruction caused by the heavy and persistent rain. Business operators in Comfort Castle, Ginger House, Cornwall Barracks, and Kent, among other areas, are on the verge of giving up.
One businessman said businesses are suffering badly from damage done to their properties, some of which are on the brink of collapsing. Added to this is the fact that the road network has been badly damaged.
“Things really rough. The business place all over the place get a beaten from the rain, plus the roads, which were not good in the first place, are now so bad it is impossible to deal with,” the businessman said.
Minister of Industry, Commerce, Agriculture and Fisheries, Karl Samuda, said Sunday that he along with a team from the ministry will be visiting the affected areas on Monday.
“I have been receiving information on the damage done by the heavy rain and it does not look good at all,” Samuda said. “This will definitely affect our agricultural production but I need to see for myself and make the assessment before I am able to report accurately on the matter.”
Minister without portfolio in the Ministry of Economic Growth and Job Creation with responsibility for land, the environment, climate change and investment, Daryl Vaz, informed that plans are already in place to assist those who have lost their houses.
“I have spoken with a representative from Food for the Poor who will be looking at the situation tomorrow [Monday] to find the quickest solution in assisting people who have lost their places of abode because of the heavy rain,” Vaz who is the Member of Parliament for West Portland said.
The minister further stated that the first response of the government is to take care of the people then look at the infrastructural damage.
“Minister of Labour, Shahine Robinson, has already dispatched members of her team to the affected areas to aid as best as possible those people who require medication and in some instances food and money,” Vaz stated.
Vaz indicated that while he is not the Member of Parliament for most of the affected areas he will be working closely with the MP, Lynvale Bloomfield, and others to ensure assistance is received by those who need it.