Prime Minister, Hon. Bruce Golding is imploring Jamaicans to remain indoors as much as possible, as the country is being lashed by torrential rains, resulting from Tropical Storm Nicole.
Mr. Golding met with members of several agencies on (September 29), including the National Works Agency (NWA), the Meteorological Service of Jamaica, the Jamaica Defence Force, the Ministry of Health and the Office of Disaster Preparedness and Emergency Management (ODPEM), to get an update on the effects of the heavy rainfall. The meeting was held at the ODPEM’s office in Kingston.
Minister with responsibility for Information, Telecommunications and Special Projects in the Office of the Prime Minister (OPM), Hon. Daryl Vaz (right), consults with Director General of the Office of Disaster Preparedness and Emergency Management (ODPEM), Ronald Jackson, during a briefing on the weather conditions affecting Jamaica, at the ODPEM, in Kingston, on (September 29).
The Prime Minister also took a decision to get a first hand look at the affected areas, by helicopter.
Mr. Golding said he was very concerned about the damage being caused by the heavy rains, especially after receiving a report from the Met Office that the severe weather conditions are expected to continue over the next two to three days. He said that already there has been significant flooding across the island and that some roads have been cut off.
Prime Minister, Hon. Bruce Golding emphasises a point in a meeting with members of various agencies to discuss the effects of Tropical Storm Nicole on the island, at the Office of Disaster Preparedness and Emergency Management (ODPEM), in Kingston, on (September 29). The agencies represented were the National Works Agency, the Meteorological Service of Jamaica, the Jamaica Defence Force, the Ministry of Health and the ODPEM.
Director General of the ODPEM, Ronald Jackson, reported that shelters have been opened for displaced persons and the agency is looking at other areas where they might be needed as the rains continue. He said the NWA is also trying to re-open some critical roads that have become impassable.
Among the critical areas listed by Mr. Jackson are: August Town/Kintyre in St. Andrew; Cedar Valley and Llandewey in St. Thomas; Savanna-la Mar and Russia in Westmoreland; and the Martha Brae area of Trelawny. He added that most rivers, such as the Rio Cobre in St. Catherine, are in spate and are flooding nearby communities.
Mr. Jackson also sought to assure that the ODPEM has enough resources to deal with the current emergency situation.
“For the numbers that we expect to come out of this event, we should be in a position to deal with the sheltering of these individuals,” he said.
He also implored persons to ensure their own safety by evacuating their homes if they live in flood-prone areas and to avoid crossing flooded waterways during this weather. He informed that in cases of emergency the ODPEM can be reached at 906-9674-5 and 754-9077-8 or through the Jamaica Constabulary Force’s 119 number.
Meanwhile, the Jamaica Public Service Company Limited has estimated that approximately 30 per cent or 170,000 of its customers across the island are currently without power as a result of the impact of the weather on the island’s power delivery system.
The company says while restoration efforts are underway in some communities, the prevailing weather conditions have significantly compromised these efforts in some areas.