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JIS News

As Jamaica continues to be drenched with heavy rains as Hurricane Wilma drifts away from the island, the Office of Disaster Preparedness and Emergency Management (ODPEM) has reported that more than 300 persons are currently being housed in 11 shelters across the country.
Director General of ODPEM, Dr. Barbara Carby, who was speaking at an emergency meeting of the National Disaster Committee today (October 18) at Jamaica House, said while there were 11 shelters in operation now, this number is expected to increase given that more reports of flooded communities were being made to the ODPEM office.
The shelters that are currently open include the HEART Academy, Gwen Neil Basic School in Central Village, Church of God of Prophecy in Fraser’s Content, Old Harbour High and Spanish Town Primary Schools in St. Catherine; Whitehall Community Centre, St. Benedict’s Primary, Edith Dalton James High and Dunrobin Primary Schools in Kingston, and a shelter at Halse Hall in Clarendon. “We expect the condition to escalate as the rain continues.so we are estimating that by the end of the day, we will have to open more shelters,” Dr. Carby said, further stressing that there was need to activate the emergency operation centres immediately.
In the parish of Clarendon, which is being inundated with rising floodwaters, the Director General said as a result of this extreme flooding, an air evacuation was being organised with the air wing of the Jamaica Defence Force to remove the affected persons in that parish.
She also revealed that in southern Clarendon, in particular, the swift water rescue personnel who were trained two weeks ago, are being mobilised should the need arise for their assistance.
On the matter of relief supplies, Dr. Carby said that foam pads, blankets, and utensils have been sent to the shelters.
Meanwhile, Senior Director of Social Security in the Ministry of Labour and Social Security, Faith Innerarity advised that the officers of the Ministry were active in delivering food supplies, bedding and other emergency items to the shelters, as well as to persons found to be in need.
She added that several of the shelters were also provided with stoves, and foodstuff to enable cooking.
According to the National Meteorological Office, at 10 a.m. today, Hurricane Wilma was located 325 kilometres to the southwest of Negril Point.