MONTEGO BAY — Life in the Chigwell, Forrest and Pearces Village areas of Eastern Hanover, which were severely affected by flood waters as a result of Tropical Storm Nicole last year, is back to normal, with motor vehicles and commuters having free access to those and adjoining districts.
Most of the three districts were covered with water, with several persons having to abandon their homes, while crops and animals were lost in the flood waters. The roads in the communities were also rendered impassable, causing great hardships for persons working and attending school outside of the districts.
At the height of the disaster, over 150 persons in the three districts had to abandon their homes, with some having to seek refuge in an emergency shelter established in the Chigwell area, while others sought refuge with family and friends.
The Office of Disaster Preparedness and Emergency Management (ODPEM), Hanover Parish Council, Hanover Health Department, Rural Agricultural Development Authority (RADA), Salvation Army and Red Cross monitored the situation very closely, rendering as much assistance as was necessary to make the lives of those displaced as comfortable as possible.
Disaster Preparedness Co-ordinator in the parish of Hanover, Olga Fae-Headley, told JIS News that the flood waters have receded into the regular ponds.
“The roads need some work, because there are quite a number of potholes that have developed, but there is still a good two-way flow of traffic, and it has made life a bit easier for persons (in the districts), because the children can go to school and people can go to work, so stress-wise, it is much better now for persons in the three districts,” she said.
Checks have revealed that most of the displaced persons have returned to their homes, while repairs to roofs, flooring and sideboards are being carried out on most of the houses that were covered by the flood waters. According to Mrs. Headley, a relocation programme is still being seriously considered, as this is not the first time that the areas have been flooded out.
She said that Pastoral counselling is still taking place within the communities, while the Health Department is being lobbied to assist with the reconstruction of the many toilets that were flooded out and destroyed.
By BRYAN MILLER, JIS Reporter