JIS News

With assessment of the damage to the island by Hurricane Emily already underway, preliminary estimates by the Planning Institute of Jamaica on the damage caused by Hurricane Dennis has been placed at $1.928 billion with $1.1 billion for infrastructure and the remainder for agriculture and other impacted areas.
Information Minister Senator Burchell Whiteman provided an update on the status of the island in the wake of the two hurricanes, which passed within a week of each other at yesterday’s (Monday, July 18), post cabinet press briefing.
Senator Whiteman said there would be a further assessment to quantify the damage caused by Hurricane Emily which affected the island over the weekend, causing significant flooding in southern parishes in particular St. Thomas, St. Catherine, Clarendon, southern Manchester and St. Elizabeth where persons lost their lives.
Senator Whiteman informed that there was sufficient provision for the immediate emergency work to continue but said no final decision had been made as to special provisions overall. He however noted that it was not anticipated that outside intervention would be sought to meet costs.
The Information Minister also assured that airlifts of food and other supplies would continue for some communities, which are inaccessible via roadways. He reported that all hospitals were open and providing normal service.
In the meantime Senator Whiteman said the Health Ministry was continuing to provide its vector control services so as to minimize the effects of mosquitoes and other health issues.
He said water treatment advisories were still in effect and informed that the National Water Commission was well on the way to restoring water supplies to most of the island.
Director General of the Office of Disaster Preparedness and Emergency Management (ODPEM), Dr. Barbara Carby said at last notice there were some 400 persons in shelters across the island down from a reported 3,600 initially. She noted that the shelter population was expected to continue to fluctuate based on the circumstances. The ODPEM Director General informed that most persons were now able to return to their homes with the exception of residents in Big Woods St.Elizabeth where persons were cut off but are not in immediate danger.
She informed that the National Works Agency and the police would be supervising the traffic on the Islington, St. Mary Bridge. Dr. Carby said the Ministry of Commerce, Science and Technology had identified smaller tankers, which were able to take fuel into Portland and St. Thomas. She said the Ministry was also monitoring food levels in both those parishes.
In the meantime it is expected that the Bog Walk Gorge in St. Catherine would be re-opened to traffic by mid-week.
Meanwhile the remaining cheques for disbursement in respect of hurricane Ivan, which affected the island last September are now ready for distribution.