Statement to Parliament by the Hon. Bruce Golding, Prime Minister on the Impact of Tropical Depression #16 and Tropical Storm Nicole on Jamaica


Torrential rains and other adverse weather conditions associated with Tropical Depression No. 16 which later became Tropical Storm Nicole impacted the island of Jamaica from 26-29 September 2010. The event produced bands of showers and thunderstorms over most of the island but more so to the southern, south eastern and western ends of the island. The tropical system resulted in as much as 20 inches of rain in some parts of the island during this period. The event has so far left thirteen (13) persons confirmed dead and two (2) others missing. The House will wish to extend our profound sympathies to the families of the victims.
Approximately 211 communities have been adversely impacted. Some remain surrounded by water while others are marooned due to road access challenges.
Welfare and relief operations to affected and marooned communities have proceeded in earnest and food packages have been airlifted to communities in St. Thomas, St. Catherine and Kingston and St. Andrew. Food packages have also been distributed in the parishes of St. Elizabeth and Westmoreland. Boats were dispatched to transport food and evacuate persons in communities marooned by flood waters in the Pedro River Community in St. Ann and the Chigwell/Forest areas of Hanover. Welfare assessments are on-going and relief operations will continue.
At peak, over 400 persons were sheltered in 24 shelters in 7 parishes’ islandwide. As of today, there are 114 persons still in 6 shelters in St. Andrew and St. Elizabeth. This number is expected to decline as community access is restored and the water levels recede. It is estimated that approximately 170 houses were extensively damaged or destroyed.
Preliminary assessment carried out by the Ministry of Transport and Works and the Department of Local Government indicate that the damage to the road network, drainage systems, river protection and associated infrastructure will require $10.6 billion to restore. This includes approximately $1.7 billion to effect clearance and immediate works to roads that are blocked or have collapsed as well as structures that pose a danger to life and property.
The Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries through RADA has estimated damage to farm roads at $500 million and loss of crops and livestock at $500 million.
Damage to schools islandwide is estimated at $100 million and damage to health facilities at $98.5 million.
While tourist arrivals during the period were not adversely affected, significant damage was done to beaches and buildings in Negril which is estimated at over US$1 million.
The Jamaica Public Service Company experienced significant disruption in its distribution system and as much as 200,000 of its customers were at one stage without power supply. Most of this has now been restored but there remain several communities in remote areas where it will take some time before power is restored because work crews have not yet been able to gain access to carry out the necessary repairs or because of the extent of the damage which occurred.
Several of the 460 water supply systems islandwide were disrupted for a variety of reasons including loss of electricity, flooding, turbidity and damaged pipelines. Approximately 85% of these systems have been restored and work is proceeding on the remainder.
The National Water Commission estimates the damage to its systems and installations at $270 million.
The critical response agencies, ODPEM, NWA, the Local Authorities, Security Forces, Fire Services, Health Services, NWC, JPSCo, have been working tirelessly to restore and maintain vital services during this challenging period. I commend the work of the dedicated men and women in all these agencies. The voluntary agencies have also been active in providing relief to those in distress. We extend to them our profound appreciation.
The cost to repair the damage and provide assistance to those severely dislocated will impact significantly on the country’s delicate fiscal situation. Instructions have been given for the emergency works to clear blocked roads and restore access to marooned communities to continue.
The estimates presented are preliminary. More detailed assessment is being carried out to determine more precisely both the cost to repair the damage as well as the medium to long-term impact on the economy.
The Minister of Finance will brief the International Monetary Fund in Washington on Thursday on the level of damage we have sustained and the impact it is likely to have on our fiscal programme. These discussions will determine the extent to which the programme will be adjusted to take account of the expenditure that must be undertaken as a matter of urgency to effect repairs and reconstruction. The Minister will also seek to determine the extent to which additional funds can be secured from our other multilateral partners or programmed funds reallocated to help in meeting these unplanned expenditures.
Many of the roads that must be attended to were included in the JDIP Programme. Minister Shaw’s discussions will include the need to bring forward as many of these roads as can be accommodated within the additional fiscal space that is being sought.

JIS Social