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JIS News

Over 300 persons are currently occupying shelters in St Thomas, after rising waters caused by torrential rains associated with Tropical Storm Gustav, forced them to evacuate their homes.
Officials from the St Thomas Parish Disaster Committee and the relevant agencies, were scheduled to visit the shelters on Saturday (August 30), to determine the number of persons who will need relief supplies and food.
Chairman of the St Thomas Parish Disaster Committee, and Mayor of Morant Bay, Hanif Brown, told JIS News that some 54 families, totalling 180 persons, from mountainous communities in the parish, had to seek shelter at the Seaforth High and Paul Bogle High Schools on Friday (August 29), out of fear of their homes being flooded.
“One bank of the Johnson River was extremely high, and persons left their homes for the shelters. Some of these persons have not recovered from the last hurricane, and the roofs of their homes are very poor,” he informed.
The Mayor said, however, that the number of persons occupying shelters could be reduced, as individuals have begun making arrangements to vacate the facilities and return to their homes, as the flood waters in some communities have started to recede.
Mr. Brown pointed out that, currently, the main concern is the number of communities that have been marooned, due to landslides and flooding. He expressed concern that residents might be unable to purchase food, which is normally done on Fridays and Saturdays.
“We have very serious concern for them, because we do not know their ability to continue surviving beyond tomorrow (Saturday, August 30),” he said, noting that the main link between Kingston and St Thomas, the Harbour View Bridge, was washed away during the passage of the system.
The Mayor said, currently, there are 10 communities, with roads that are impassable. These include: Torrington, Wellersfield, Hayfield, Beacon Hill, Cedar Valley, Mount Lebanus, Mansfield, Johnson Mountain, and Spring Bank, the latter having three, all of which are blocked.
“It is going to take a considerable amount of effort on the part of the National Works Agency (NWA) and the Council (to clear these roadways),” he added.