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Relief and recovery efforts are now underway in the town of Port Maria, St. Mary, following extensive flooding on November 11, when the town was engulfed by overflow from the Peggy and Ashram Rivers.

Providing an update on the situation at the Jamaica House press briefing, at the Office of the Prime Minister, State Minister in charge of Housing, in the Ministry of Transport, Works and Housing, Hon. Dr. Morais Guy, explained that there has been significant washing out of buildings with mud and flurry, and that “nobody was untouched, residents as well as businesses."

Dr. Guy, who is also Member of Parliament for Central St. Mary, noted that the water had receded and that commercial activity is slowly returning. He added that the streets are being cleared of debris and garbage, with the Parish Council, the National Solid Waste Management Authority (NSWMA), and public health department ensuring that these are disposed of properly.

Additionally, the Jamaica Fire Brigade is washing off the streets to ensure that there is no dust nuisance once they are dry. Meanwhile, health personnel are carrying out sanitation operation in the main areas, and vector control is being conducted to prevent mosquito breeding.

Dr. Guy informed that the Office of Disaster Preparedness and Emergency Management (ODPEM), the Ministry of Labour and Social Security, and the Jamaica Red Cross are carrying out assessments and that mattresses have been provided to assist a significant number of residents in the immediate aftermath of the flooding.

Meanwhile, Director General of ODPEM, Ronald Jackson, commended the Mayor of Port Maria and the local team for taking the initiative. “While we supported with national resources, a lot of the co-ordination really took place at the local level, with the Member of Parliament, Mayor and the agencies. It shows resilience and growth in the process,” he said.

Mr. Jackson noted that the ODPEM technical team is also doing a full assessment from the hazard angle, and to address any other unmet needs and provide support where necessary.