With 150 families being displaced from their homes in Chigwell, Pearces Village and Forrest in Eastern Hanover, since the heavy rains associated with Tropical Storm Nicole, flood waters in Chigwell have been rising at a rate of approximately six inches per day.
Approximately 650 individuals are affected, of which four persons have been located in an emergency shelter in Chigwell.
Hanover Parish Disaster Preparedness Coordinator, Olga Fae Headley, told JIS News Tuesday (October 26), that persons trying to leave the districts have to do so by bamboo rafts built by community persons, or boats provided by the Office of Disaster Preparedness and Emergency Management (ODPEM), for part of the way until they reach an area where they can board a motor vehicle.
Students travelling to school in Hopewell and persons who work outside the districts are seriously affected, as are farmers in all three districts who have experienced heavy losses in crops, poultry and cattle.
Raftsmen in Chigwell district, Hanover, navigate the flood waters in that district in search of residents who wish to move from one point to the next in the district. Bamboo Rafts built by residents of the district or boats supplied by the Office of Disaster Preparedness and Emergency Management are the only means of moving about in the three Eastern Hanover districts of Chigwell, Pearces Village and Forrest, since the passing of Tropical Storm Nicole.
Mrs. Headley pointed out that there has been cooperation between the residents who help each other with shelter and food, as the need arise. This has minimized the need for the opening of emergency shelters.
“The only shelter we have opened is the one right here in Chigwell, which is a small basic school. There are two families that are now sleeping in that shelter, I think they are about four persons, one is an elderly man that the shelter manager has to take full responsibility for, feeding and doing everything for him,” she pointed out.
Mrs Headley is concerned about the safety of the shelter because of its proximity to the water which rising, daily.
“Might I add that the Shelter right now is in danger—there is water over there in the yard, so right now we are fearful for that”, she stated, adding that if the flood waters continue to rise, occupants of the shelter might have to be relocated.
Turning her attention to the level of assistance being rendered, Mrs. Headley pointed out that the ODPEM and the Hanover Parish Council have been providing basic assistance.
“We have provided some boats for these persons, so that they can actually move around.we have been able to help them with food, because the persons here are small farmers and they usually plant most of what they eat.we have been helping them in providing the staples and whatever food we can give to them,” she stated.
ODPEM in collaboration with the Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries has provided some fish fingerlings, as a means of vector control, and the Ministry of Health is also working assiduously in the area implementing mosquito control and other health projects.
Mrs. Headley also issued a warning to residents of the area to refrain from swimming in the water, as there is a strong possibility that it is contaminated with bacteria, as a number of toilets in the area have been flooded out.