JAMAICA – Sugar Company, Fisheries Division hardest hit by flooding
KINGSTON – Businesses located on Marcus Garvey Drive in Kingston Monday started to clean out the muck left by floodwaters when the Shoemaker Gully overflowed its banks during heavy rain last Friday.
A number of workers who were returning to work for the first time since Friday’s disaster were yesterday greeted with debris that not only littered the yards but inside some buildings. There were also reports that raw sewage made the clean-up efforts more unpleasant.
Director of Fisheries in the Ministry of Industry, Commerce, Agriculture, and Fisheries, Andre Kong, said that services offered at the Fisheries Division headquarters will be temporarily affected because of the flooding.
“The entire ground floor . . . technical services, the licence and registration, storeroom, supplies, and the technical and research areas [suffered damage]. Every piece of the computer, printers, scanners have been damaged significantly or destroyed, and it appeared that most of the equipment have been damaged beyond repair. What you see here is total devastation in respect to the services at this time. We cannot provide the services at this time,” Kong told the Jamaica Observer.
However, Kong said that the industry was working feverishly to restore normality.
As the clean-up exercise continued Monday at the Fisheries Division, some of the employees sifted through several files that had been soaked.
Warehouse manager at the Sugar Company of Jamaica, Noel Grant, told the Observer that the damage at the company was of an unimaginable proportion.
“We [experienced] a very great loss; it can range from anywhere between $200 million to $300 million, [but] we are waiting on the public health [inspectors] to come and make their assessment to see what portion of the goods are good or what should be disposed of, and at the end of that we can give a definitive figure as to the magnitude of the loss,” Grant said.
Supervisor at the sugar warehouse, Kolin Francis, who was at the location last Friday, recalled what happened.
“Sometime after the rain started one of the workers alerted me that that the gully was blocked and debris started to come down. When I came out of the warehouse to investigate what was happening and I alerted the rest of the staff, I just hear when this wall collapse, and that was when the water started coming in and flood the place,” he said.
Francis, who said the gully had overflowed its banks three weeks ago, told the Observer that the National Works Agency was made aware of the incident he added, while no one was injured, workers were traumatised.