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JIS News

Hundreds of persons who sought shelter from Hurricane Dean in Western Jamaica on August 19, have since returned home.
Some 2,270 residents from low-lying flood prone areas in western Jamaica sought refuge in 100 shelters in Westmoreland, Hanover and St. James as a result of the hurricane, which battered the island, particularly the south coast.
The category Four storm spared the island a direct hit, with its eye passing some 80 kilometres off the south coast.
For the most part, severe damage in western parishes was confined to several small wooden dwellings, while a number of houses and other buildings suffered extensive roof damage. Fallen trees and power lines from downed Jamaica Public Service Company (JPSCo) and telephone poles blocked some major and minor roadways across the three parishes.
Disaster Preparedness Co-ordinator for Westmoreland, Hilma Tate, told JIS News that about 17 of the over 80 shelters were in operation from as early as midday on August 19 with approximately 626 persons occupying them.
According to Miss Tate, these persons have returned home, except for a number of families from the Belvedere area of the parish where some nine houses were completely destroyed. Other persons who are still occupying some shelters today are from the New Works area, where their houses were severely damaged by heavy winds.
“Most of the damage reported are to the roofs of several houses, which were hit by very heavy winds and fallen trees. There are also minor damage to some roadways across the parish and many were made impassable due to several fallen trees and poles. Two of the parish’s major markets, Savanna-la-Mar and Grange Hill, were severely damaged by heavy winds.
Personnel from the Roads and Works Department of the Westmoreland Parish Council are out in the areas doing assessments and preliminary repair work,” Miss Tate told JIS News.
Over in the parish of Hanover, 51 of the 70 shelters were activated with some 947 residents housed in them during the passage of Hurricane Dean. According to Disaster Preparedness Co-ordinator for the parish, Faye Headley, all persons have since returned home as only minor damage was reported to some houses.
Mrs. Headley noted that workmen from the Roads and Works Department of the Hanover Parish Council and the National Solid Waste Management Authority (NSWMA) were doing comprehensive assessments and emergency remedial repair work on roads across the parish.
Acting Disaster Preparedness Co-ordinator for the parish of St. James, Horace Glaze, told JIS News that some 45 of the parish’s 54 shelters were activated with a total of 700 persons seeking refuge in them during the storm.
“All persons have since returned home, except for some families in the Mocco area of the parish, who are presently occupying the only shelter that still remains open,” he said.
“A number of roads across St. James were blocked by debris, fallen trees and JPSCo poles. These have since been cleared for vehicular traffic,” Mr. Glaze added.